Former Sports Illustrated Cover Model Cheryl Tiegs Fat-Shames Ashley Graham

What is "healthy?"

What is "healthy?"

“Her face is beautiful. Beautiful,” Tiegs said.

Many people spent time earlier this month staring at the stunningly gorgeous Ashley Graham, the plus-size model sizzling on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Consumers lauded the magazine for embracing beauty in all sizes. But former Sports Illustrated cover model Cheryl Tiegs saw something different — an unhealthy woman being celebrated.

“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],” Tiegs told E! News, citing a number from the Dr. Oz Show. “No, I don’t think it’s healthy.”

Tiegs was sure to add what every fat girl has heard as a consolation prize — Graham has a gorgeous face.

“Her face is beautiful. Beautiful,” Tiegs said.

If only she could lose some weight.

Tiegs’ comments are derogatory, and stand against everything that Graham herself has come out in support of.

“There is no perfect body, and we shouldn’t be striving for perfection anymore,” Graham told E! News last month.

In the past, Graham has fought back assumptions made about her health, and the health of other plus-size models.

"The things that I don't necessarily like about it is all the negative stigmatisms that go with the word plus sized — you're fat, you're lazy, you have no drive, no determination, you're constantly eating," Graham told Entertainment Tonight. "Honey, I work out. I work out three days a week. I lift. I do barre. I do it all. It's the stereotypes. That's what I really don't like. I am me. Take it or leave it."

Graham doesn’t owe anyone an explanation of her fitness routine or her health, because it is no one’s business but her own. Least of all Tiegs, who wasn’t even informed enough to realize that Graham has a 30-inch waist, which, according to Dr. Oz, means that she passes the health screening.

Weight, body image, and health are all vastly complicated. Scientists are finding that weight isn’t the end all be all when it comes to health, and more and more people of all shapes and sizes are joining the body positivity movement, celebrating themselves as they are. Society overall is making progress in acceptance of different beauty standards, but there is still a very, very long way to go, especially in the notoriously judgmental modeling industry.

When fury over Tiegs’ comments lit up the internet, she took to Twitter to clarify her points, but actually delved deeper into body shaming.

“To clarify re bodyweight. Being anorexic/bulimic/overweight all connected to health problems. I want all to be as healthy as they can,” she wrote.

Being overweight (and let’s be honest, Graham is probably really just average size in America) is not the same as having an eating disorder. A person’s size tells you very little about their health. Tiegs’ twitter apology completely missed the mark, something that is especially apparent during Eating Disorder Awareness Month.

I have complicated feelings on the praise heaped upon Sports Illustrated for featuring Graham, and I certainly don’t think that the magazine is redefining beauty standards by featuring a stunningly gorgeous cis woman with a flat stomach and curves in all the right places. But it is nice to see a tiny sliver of diversity in the type of body we choose to celebrate.

My feelings on Tiegs’ comments, however, are much less complicated. She can kiss my large, healthy ass. It shouldn’t be hard to find, since it measures much larger than 35 inches.

If you like this article, please share it! Your clicks keep us alive!