Yesterday morning I got a text from my friend Lillah saying, “What’s up with Cheryl Tiegs?” Later, another friend posted on my Facebook page an article discussing an interview Cheryl Tiegs did with E! News, where she responded to model Ashley Graham’s Sports Illustrated cover. In the interview Cheryl Tiegs was quoted as saying, “I don’t like that we’re talking about full-figured women because it’s glamorizing them because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]. That’s what Dr. Oz said, and I’m sticking to it. No, I don’t think it’s healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don’t think it’s healthy in the long run.”
This gets into something that I truly think is the real problem – women judging other women. I am not so sure that I believe Cheryl Tiegs when she cites Dr. Oz as her judgment and health guru. I mean really…can’t a women be a size 14 and be healthy? Or a size 16? And, by the way, Ashley Graham is a size 16 and she is 5’9″ tall. That’s tall. Come on Dr. Oz, are the restrictions that rigid?
Here’s what I think: I think the issue for Cheryl Tiegs is that the beauty standard for women is broadening and that, for a former Supermodel who was the embodiment of that standard, is uncomfortable. The world is topsy turvy. We are embracing other ways to look at beauty that call into question our own (very limited) beauty standards. And that, my friends, freaks people out.
And I just love that.
In my heart of hearts, I believe that we need to freak people out with this “beauty” thing. To turn things on their head and begin to question and reevaluate just how narrow the version of beauty is that we have been fed. That version has hurt us, has made us question who we are, and it’s time – oh God is it time – for this to change.
So, to Cheryl Tiegs I say, “I disagree with you.” I kind of wanted to quote Helen Mirren with, “Fuck off” (I think I’ll put this in all my blogs), but I believe, in this instance, it’s a bit too severe and it moves us sideways instead of forward.
So, to women everywhere, I say, “Be kind to your sisters. Embrace other versions of beauty. Stop the judgment.”
Look, we can create a new (and more inclusive) version of beauty. But we have to do this together. So, Ladies (and Girls), (and Guys and Boys), the next time your first instinct is to think (or say), “Wow, she’s fat,” or , “He looks like a troll,” or “What a loser,” or “Are you kidding with that outfit?” or, “I can’t believe that you’re healthy as a size 16,” or any millions of judgmental things any of us could think of to say, stop. Just stop. And shut up. That person is doing the best she (or he) can.
Look again at that person. Really look. See the beauty that is THAT person. No Dr. Oz involved. Just human to human. I promise, if you do that consistently, the world will be a better place.
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