Growing up in a world where it was beautiful to be smaller, it was hard to find women that looked like me on TV or in magazines when I was a young girl. Lucky for me, I had beautiful women in my family that I was able to look to. However, when you’re young and in a world that is dominated by what is portrayed on TV and in magazines it quickly became clear that I was not the standard of beauty.
At least not by the standards at the time. Throughout my childhood, I questioned my looks, my weight, my hair and my skin tone because outside of my family it seemed like most women were slim, light skinned with long hair in the media. I couldn’t strive to be like them because it was obvious that I was completely different. But I’m so glad to say that the young girls of today have so many beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, skin tones and hair textures to look up to in mainstream media. When I saw the new cover of Ebony Magazine, I was brought to tears. To see women with curves and different skin tones on the front cover and looking fierce was a moment that I will never forget. To know that young women everywhere will see style blogger Gabi Gregg (Gabifresh), Actress Danielle Brooks of “Orange is the New Black” and Singers Jazmine Sullivan and Chrisette Michele, who are successful, talented, beautiful and curvy, will be such an amazing view for them.
Young girls will see that they too can become whatever their hearts desires, no matter their shape, hair texture or skin tone. To know that these women have worked hard and overcome so many obstacles to be where they are, but they made it. And now they are opening doors for those that will come behind them. Plus Size women will no longer have to fight so hard to be seen or heard or accepted. To know that we are not our size, we are our talent, our integrity, our compassion and our dedication. We will no longer be lost in the in shuffle, but we will be front and center with the world.
My hope is that our younger generation realizes that we have overcome stereotypes like our ancestors have and in order to keep growing and pushing through those stereotypes, we have to break barriers everyday so that a curvy woman on the cover of magazine becomes the norm and not a moment where we are in awe but then it quickly fades away. No, this moment is pivotal. It’s groundbreaking, so all mothers, sisters, aunts and cousins, grab hold of the younger ladies, explain how seeing these four women on the cover can and will change the landscape of who we see on magazine covers and on TV in the future. Let them know that they can someday be on the cover, or acting or blogging and being truly authentic.
Ebony Magazine, thank you for taking on the issue of body image and showing that size does not equal beauty. My kids will be born into a different world where they will have so many views of beauty. One of my favorite quotes is “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and Ebony is truly living this mantra.