Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hunter McGrady has a bold message for critics: There is no "wrong" body type, only wrong ways to talk about beauty standards.
The 5'11", size-16 model was just chosen to appear in this year's SI swimsuit issue, and she's determined to prove women of every size, weight, and ethnicity can be powerful and sexy. McGrady announced her news on Instagram last month, but a new post addressing the response she got after her announcement is what's really catching our eye:
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My body is not wrong. There is no part of it that is not me or does not belong where it is. There is no such thing as a ‘wrong’ body. What’s wrong is the way you see it, the beliefs you impose on it, the labels you attach to it. Your words are wrong-not my body. I was not ‘born in the wrong body’. You were given the wrong words to describe it. #Rookie2018 @si_swimsuit @taylorbphoto @mj_day
McGrady brings up a really good point here: There is nothing wrong about anyone's body, but the way we talk about it is a problem. The 23-year-old had her own battle with unhealthy dieting—she started in the modeling industry as a size 2—but she learned that trying to fit into someone else's expectations just made her miserable. So now she's helping more women come to terms with they bodies they're in.
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#flashbackfriday At age 15 I was told by 4 agencies that I needed to lose 3 inches off of my hips to be a model which would have put me at a size 00. I would desperately work out for hours and eat few calories per day, HOPING I could fit the bill. It wasn't until 18 years old, 3 years of insecurities brought on because I thought I wasn't good enough, that I wouldn't measure up! I realized that my body was not built to be that thin. Today, I'm so thankful I'm able to pursue my dream and still promote a healthy body image. He will fill the desires of your heart! Chains are broken! I see it in so many young girls these days who are striving to have a thigh gap, or for their hip bones to stick out, or to fit a size 0. Not everyone's body structure is made like that. Be the healthiest you, you can be. Be active, use the things God provided for you, focus on HIM and Embrace the body The Lord gave you! HE CREATED YOU IN HIS PERFECT IMAGE! You can't deny his sweet creations!
By overusing words like "overweight," "unhealthy," and even "plus size," we're essentially saying bodies like McGrady's are wrong or unusual. But they're not. It's time to change the way we talk about women's bodies, especially, and that starts with understanding there's not one way to be healthy. Treat your body in a way that makes you feel strong, whether you're a size 2 or 22. Being healthy is all about how you choose to care for your body, mind, and spirit.