Self Magazine’s feature leads you to think this article is about celebration and acceptance
Celebratory and Accepting it is not.
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First and foremost, I love my blog, I love being able to bring you the latest in plus size fashion, news, and issues. Showing the strides and celebrating our successes is what drives me to bring you the best resources for you to love your body, keeping you Curvy.Confident.Chic. However, I also feel that it is just as important to expose societal flaws about the perception of health and beauty.
Enter in Self Magazine
Self Magazine, a woman’s magazine focusing on healthy living pulled a quick one this month in its February issue- one that has me reeling with frustration. As if it not bad enough that the fashion industry is trying to declare there is not plus size model industry in Australia, we (plus size women), battle the ignorance and disdain constantly portrayed in the various media.
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What is this quick one you ask?
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read, “Fall in love with your body?”
Tips, tools, or maybe a guide like AnyBody.org, showing you how to live and love your body, yes?
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In an effort to throw you a curveball, Self Magazine’s title deceives not only YOU but some of the models by showing you that while you may be confident, or love yourself, your figure could harm your future health.
Self Magazine’s Title Misrepresents itself
Instead of showing various women, and their flaws learning to love themselves, they pick apart what they are doing wrong, spew statistics, and do nothing to celebrate these beautiful women- but the worst was the presentation of the proud Latina plus size model and Plus Model Magazine contributor, Suzette.
Under the impression of sporting her confidence, Suzette proudly fashioned an implied nude shot, holding a whiteboard in front of her, all smiles, with her hand on curvy hip exuding confidence when compared to the other models represented. What was not shared what was going to be photoshopped onto the whiteboard!
The board’s text:
SUZETTE BANZO: A confident woman whose figure could harm her future health
I had the pleasure of talking with this vivacious, curvy, and confident plus model and she shares her experience about this shoot and the societal implications behind this:
The Model, Suzette Banzo Shares this experience with Self Magazine
When I responded to the casting for the article, I was thrilled to represent a plus size Latina whose culture shaped what the ideal of beauty is. When I was growing up, having curves, a full derriere, shapely ample hips and thick thighs were perceived as very desirable. Granted, they are preferably on a woman ranging from a size 6-12, but as I gained weight, I never lost the confidence that was instilled in me.
I agreed to participate in taking some cholesterol tests and a body fat test because they wanted to add the angle that we could be healthy and unhealthy at various sizes. Since my medical history has always been positive, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to educate readers that appearances and opinions on health risks can be deceiving when it comes someone that is my size.
Before it went to print the fact checker called to tell me what they planned to write in the article. They were going to state that although I have confidence, I am a high risk for Diabetes. I was not tested at the shoot for diabetes. They never asked about my family history, or did a blood sugar level, or other blood test (other than cholesterol).
I quickly opposed this by stating that nobody in my family has diabetes, in fact, both of my full figured grandmothers died in their nineties and neither had diabetes. I understand that you are trying to educate readers that Hispanics as a whole are at a high risk, but diabetes doesn’t just affect Blacks, Hispanics, or full figured women. After deliberation, we settled on them including that I have no family history of diabetes, but keeping the Hispanic statistic.
What I was most disappointed in was when I saw the implied nude shot had the words “A confident woman whose figure could harm her future health.” My first reaction was, so could a speeding car! I work at maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and work on projects that promote confidence and having a positive body image.
The article reads, “Fall in Love with Your Body…” I HAVE! I AM THERE! I want other full size women to love themselves too.
I see a photo where I look lovely, confident, hand on my hip, fat thighs for all to see and readers can gasp if they need to, but I LOVE ME! The first page in this article made me smile reading the quote about loving my size 16 curves. The article also points out that I’m on a Mediterranean diet, and would like to tone up while maintaining my curves. Then I look at the lovely photo, and see that they took my positivity, my confidence and flipped it into something negative, derogatory.
“I’m harming my health,” and implying that I’m delusional. I can be in love with my body… yet it does not matter. The article also exposes the health risks of a few slender women. Their signs read “A thrill seeker who lets her health slide when life gets too stressful” and “A young professional whose body confidence wavers.”
According to their profiles, they could have just as easily imposed messages like “A thrill seeker whose figure could harm her future health” or “A recovering anorexic whose past can change the future of her health.”
The article also offers a Love-Your-Body Solution: Rather than obsessing over your so-called flaws, appreciate what your body does for you. Gee, I thought that is what I did. I thought that was my message.
How does writing that my “figure could harm my future health” inspire readers to fall in love with their bodies? If you figure it out, please let me know.
It is a shame and such a frustration… but my question to you is, what are your thoughts?
I really hate to read such articles. I feel that society wants to portray that being plus sized (or even fat) is the worse thing that could possibly affect ones life, when in reality there are a million different factors that determine if one is healthy or not. What kills me most is that they want us to feel bad for who we are or the way we look which in my opinion does nothing to promote living a healthier lifestyle. When people feel good about how they look, they live richer lives which in turn includes taking part in healthier activites to maintain what they view as good, (even if it just includes dancing more or eating better foods). I have no quarrels with skinny people, even the ones who purge and take unnatural suppliments or partake in extreme behaviors to stay slim, so I ask myself why can’t they just let the curvy girls be?
I’m pretty angry right about now. When will there be stats and studies about women who are unnaturally thin? And what about the unhealthy lengthy they go to to keep those weights. To disguise an article about acceptance that is in actuality is condescending and offensive is a lack of journalistic integrity.
What upsets me the most about this article is that Self Magazine lead her on to believe the article would be about her loving her curves. I don’t understand society, if a “slim women” loves herself for who she is it’s okay, She great! But if a plus size woman wants to be healthy, confident, and NOT want to lose a 100 pounds. She has issues, something is wrong with her. Gabby is a perfect example of that. Everyone says she’s a great actress but she needs to lose weight. Why can’t see be big, beautiful and love herself? Why must we have issues about our weight? What can’t we love ourselves for who we are?
I have a 6 year old little girl and I have to constantly tell her to love herself no matter what other people say. To love her natural hair, her brown skin, and her corky ways. I feel like as plus size women when we get a little push for greatness something or someone always tries to knock us back down. We need to stick together and fight in what we believe!!!!
Thank you for the love and support ladies! It really means a lot!
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and support ladies, it means alot. I agree with Prissi’s point about letting curvy girls just be. You do you, purge, over exercise, starve yourself, whatever…leave me be with my happy thick body, enjoying some tiramisu one day, and a fat free yogurt the next day. 😉
To Adore My Curves, I agree, why can’t Gabby stay the weight she is and be a phenomenal actor? There are already a bunch of thin actresses that they can choose from for other roles. Where are the character actors that add authenticity if everyone fits a mold? In real life there are plenty of Gabby sized people, Hollywood just needs to include them.
To Tracey: great point, too bad they wouldn’t see it that way. Thank you!
Marie, thanks again for featuring my story on your blog. I wish you continued success. xoxo
i just recently set down and read my feb. issue of self, i have to say, i am actually shocked, my whole life, i have worked out like a mad woman possessed. all the women in my family are full figure women, my mom is over 300 lbs, and she is healthier than my dad who is only 180 lbs. since i was 13, i was so afraid of getting “fat”, so i walked 10 miles every single day, i worked out 2 hours a day. and i carried this into my adult life. my daughter is 9 yrs old. she is very tall and slim. (thanks to her daddy) i gained 5 lbs with her. now my son is 19 months old, i was put on bedrest, and my husband can’t cook, so i only ate fast food during the pregnancy. i went up to a size 36. (i have been a size 2 my entire adult life). in the last 19 months, i have tried everything from diet pills, to skipping meals, to crash diets, to skipping sleep to workout. yet i’ve only managed to get down to a size 24. my mom ordered me self because she said it would help me accept my body, that if i never get below a size 18. at least i’ll be able to accept it. yet every single article is somehow putting you down if you aren’t a size 6. i mean seriously, how many people do you know that are a size 6? and i’m actually healthier now than i was when i was a size 2, i am 5’11 1/2″, i am always gonna look best plus size. and you know, my husband, who has been with me for so long, he loves my curves, when i was growing up, my mom made such a big deal about me not gaining weight, and i am gonna make sure my daughter knows that no matter how much she weighs, she is gorgeous. because really, plus size women are sexy.