Is The First Sports Illustrated Plus-Sized Model Actually Plus-Sized?

Yesterday, we reported that Ashley Graham would be the first-ever plus-sized model to appear in the pages of the much-hyped swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated (albeit in an advertisement). She's a size 16.

Then, SI announced they would actually be featuring a plus-sized model in its official spread. Her name is Robyn Lawley, and she's a size 12.

Our question is: Can that really be considered plus-sized?

Now, don't get us wrong; we're happy for the 25-year-old Australian native. It's exciting that she's going to be featured in the issue's "Rookies" section, working it in a snake-print bikini from her very own swimwear line. And technically, the fashion industry defines "plus-sized" as between sizes 12 and 24. But she's looking pretty slim to us.

"I don't know if I consider myself as a plus-size model or not," Lawley tells Time. "I just consider myself a model because I'm trying to help women in general accept their bodies."

Regardless of whether or not Lawley is concerned with labels, we just don't think it's productive for SI to define her as plus-sized. While we understand that the magazine wants to be at the forefront of the "curvy girl era" (who wouldn't want to be?), it's also sending the message to its readers that a size 12 is larger than average, when the average American woman is actually a size 14.

Maybe, if they also feature Ashley Graham in next year's spread — without getting paid for it — they'll finally be getting somewhere.

Photo Credit: James Macari / Sports Illustrated


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