Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Swimsuit Edition

So I'm not necessarily a huge Tyra Banks fan-I think she is kind of annoying on Top Model and her talk show feels a lot like Oprah revisited. But I like that she's smart and interesting and ambitious and has proved herself to be more than just a pretty face and fantastic cleavage.

What I really like about Tyra Banks though is her willingness to tackle the issue of female body image and the media head on. I was thrilled to see her standing up for herself when some tabloid published some really unflattering photos of her in a swimsuit. Instead of whimpering about how mean that was (which I think it was), she put the same suimsuit back on and showed her audience a) that yeah, she's a little bigger than she was in her modeling days but b) i'd still sell a kidney to look that good in a bathing suit and c) tabloids feed us what they think we want to see, regardless of how true or fair it is.

Not only that, she did an interview with People Magazine where she said yeah, I'm 20 pounds heavier than I was when I was walking the runway for Victoria's Secret but that is a standard that is unrealistic in the real world. You know there is something wrong with the way women's bodies are portrayed in the media when a supermodel can't even maintain it when she begins to live like a normal human being. It was oddly liberating to read a Victoria's Secret Angel admitting that her post-modeling body sometimes gets muffin top in a pair of tight jeans.

I already thought her honesty and confidence were so cool and so brave but then today I read that Tyra is recreating her famous SI Swimsuit Issue cover in this year's edition. And she's doing it with her 20 pounds heavier self.

In the AP Radio interview, Banks said she considered going on a crash diet before the Bahamas shoot to look the same as she did 10 years ago, but then thought better of it.

"I think there's more power in embracing what I am now and showcasing that," she said.

As a normal red-blooded American female, I have of course fallen victim to hating my body at different times of my life. I feel lucky that when I started running consistently, I learned that getting strong and healthy and concentrating on what my body was capable of, I became alot less critical of the imperfections. But it can still be tempting to think that if I had thinner thighs or a flatter stomach, life might be just a little bit better. I am glad to have public figures like Ms. Banks who are willing to throw some cold water on that dream and help us realize that what our mom's told us is actually true-it's what's inside that counts. Give me Tyra with muffin top over Paris with no panties anyday.


Bev said...

To add even another "Tyra is a beautiful woman" example, I'll add this...After visiting one of my favorite people in cali (p.s. that would be you). I was on a flight with Tyra Banks back to Atlanta. She flew like anybody else and was gracious and kind. Also, she is stunning.

Mary said...

Brava, Katie. I've been a stealth reader of yours for a few months now. I just hope more Tyra's will speak out and take a stand. Women are incredible, and it's time to stop allowing the media to turn us against ourselves.

Kelly said...

Right on!

I am so loving hearing about how Tyra is stickin' it to the body image obsessed man.

k8 said...

mary! what a lovely surprise!

and seriously ladies, we should watch Tyra's show or buy her perfume or something-just to show solidarity!

sugarcube said...

I saw this episode (as is my wont) and I liked the idea of it, but it was horrible execution. It started to seem like she just wanted to show how good she (still) looks in a swimsuit and she seemed bent on convincing everyone - although she was saying otherwise - that she isn't that "fat" girl in the picture. It was pretty unsettling to me and the girl I was watching it with.

Her show seems to be a forum for her to show how good she looks. Once, she had a panty party where she walked around in lingerie.

I think she means well, but it comes across wrong.

Linda said...

Hey, I needed a break from homework and love your postings, Katie. by the way, you know I've always been a "Top Model" fan! Miss you!