In case you missed it, H&M debuted their new swimsuit line this Spring using a “plus-size” model without making any mention of the fact that she was a “plus-size” model. The model, Jennie Runk, is a gorgeous 23-year-old woman who (according to her Facebook page) lives in New York City “with a fabulous one-eyed cat.”
Runk has received lots of attention since her H&M photo spread first appeared, and she’s written an op-ed for the BBC News Magazine about her life as a “plus-size” model. She talks about being made fun of as a teenager for being so tall and not as thin as the other girls in her school, and about how “There’s no need to glamorise one body type and slam another.” Runk adds, “We need to stop this absurd hatred towards bodies for being different sizes. It doesn’t help anyone and it’s getting old.”
I totally agree. When I first heard about Runk’s photo spread, I thought to myself, “It’s wonderful that another ‘plus-size’ model is getting the chance to be the center of attention, but neither ‘regular size’ models nor ‘plus-size’ models represent the array of body shapes out there in the real world.” Women of all shapes and sizes should feel proud of ourselves and know that we are “bathing suit ready” just as we are. Runk notes in her BBC piece that she has inspired some women to “to try on a bikini for the first time in years.” How sad that women rob themselves of the opportunity to enjoy the beach or the pool freely because they judge themselves so harshly and/or feel embarrassed about the way they look.
Here’s a bit of advice from Runk, via her Facebook page: “Stand in front of a mirror, naked, and say to yourself, ‘My body is as unique as I am. It does not, and will not ever, look like any other body on earth, and that’s why it’s my favorite.'”
And then put on a bathing suit and enjoy yourself this summer! Here’s some inspiration for you, featuring women of all shapes, sizes and ages rocking the beach and ruling the pool: