Jordan Peterson is wrong – beauty ideals have changed, and not before the time
‘We’re sorry. Not nice. No amount of authoritarian tolerance will change that.” Canadian psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson while tweeting about the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2022 with singer and plus-size model Yumi Nu.
The backlash was significant as the tweeters rushed to differentiate. And it seems Peterson can dish it out, but he can’t take it. A few hours later he announced his resignation from Twitter.
Peterson’s tweet was rude, mean, and dead wrong — Nu is gorgeous in every way, but his comment shed some light on the fact that our definition of beauty has expanded significantly over the past decade.
And while many would disagree that any woman of any size and shape posing in swimwear on the cover of a magazine aimed primarily at the male gaze can be called progress for women, there are just as many who rejoice when different body types are celebrated.
For so long, society has valued a very specific type of beauty, which has always been unattainably thin. In the 1960s and 70s, Twiggy was the ideal – with her abandoned, almost youthful body. The 1980/90s praised Naomi Campbell, Elle MacPherson and Cindy Crawford, where the ideal was athletic and tall but also gauzy. And of course heroin chic a lá Jodie Kidd and Kate Moss.
In the 2000s, the Victoria Secret model look (think Heidi Klum) reigned supreme. As the century progressed, #fitspo took over and we all aspired to be strong not skinny – even though what we were really being sold was strong yet very skinny.
However, things changed. First there was Sophie Dahl, who had a brief career as a plus-size supermodel before she lost weight and retired. Next up was Beth Ditto – lead singer of punk band Gossip, she topped NME’s coolest people list in 2006 and appeared nude on their cover in 2007. In 2009, she again posed nude on the cover of love Magazine.
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Also in 2015, we first heard the chorus “Every Body is a Beach Body” in a massive backlash over a protein supplement brand’s ads adorning London Underground stations, showing a pneumatic model with the slogan “Are You Beach Body.” Ready? .
Ashley Graham, a UK size 16, graced the cover of sports illustrated in 2016. “It was a groundbreaking cover,” she said. “Yes, it changed my life, but this cover changed the lives of so many other women. This cover will forever be a statement in the fashion industry that size doesn’t matter. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”
In 2018, American model Tess Holliday appeared on the cover of size 26 Cosmopolitanwhich sparked a massive debate in the media about whether or not it promoted obesity.
Less covered but more culturally impactful was how social media lit up as taller women passed on the lift that Holliday, in all her glory, had given them.
Holliday herself said, “If I had seen a body like mine in this magazine as a young girl, it would have changed my life.”
That coverage of Yumi Nu’s cover by sports illustrated focuses primarily on the fragility of Dr. Peterson’s armor, and the unkind, body-shaming nature of his commentary, shows how far we’ve come in four years.
Also noteworthy is the proliferation of larger bodies in the media and advertising landscape. The “every body is a beach body” movement is now regularly reflected in swimsuit editorials. Dove led the way in promoting a less standardized idea of beauty – their Be Real campaign launched in 2004 – and others followed.
According to Bridget Johnson, Executive Creative Director of Boys+Girls, one of Ireland’s leading creative agencies, the trend is market-driven. We see bigger bodies because brands are responding to the market.
“Everyone is looking for it,” she says. “There are some who surf the trend and do as little as possible to look ‘bright’ but I like to think that’s changing because brands are now so much more attuned to the demands of society and I think , society has gotten so much smarter .
“The proof is in the duration and depth of the brand’s commitment. Dove has proven its ability by consistently telling this story and showing up with this story in the same way Nike and many other brands have done. There’s a lot more sensitivity and openness and a demand to feature plus-size models and be more inclusive.”
And what about the criticism that the visibility of a larger female body promotes obesity?
“Obesity isn’t caused by something you see,” says psychologist Dr. Malie Coyne. “Obesity is caused by a complex set of diseases. Very often there is significant trauma, self-critical thoughts, bad mood and many psychological factors when it comes to obesity.”
dr Coyne also points out that fewer than five percent possess the physical features that are more traditionally featured in magazines and photoshoots. Therefore, the visibility of larger bodies in our popular culture could serve to boost self-esteem.
“It’s important for girls and women to realize that people all have different body shapes,” she says. “Having plus size models in magazines and on Instagram is tremendously powerful. I think it boosts self-esteem.
“It’s normal to be rounder and it’s normal to be yourself and you don’t have to be skinny Minny to be beautiful.
“I’m so happy to see this sports illustrated Cover featuring Yumi Nu. It is very positive to see this change in beauty ideals. I think it’s a beautiful thing.”
https://www.independent.ie/style/beauty/jordan-petersons-wrong-beauty-ideals-have-changed-and-its-not-before-time-41664394.html Jordan Peterson is wrong – beauty ideals have changed, and not before the time