Caitlin McBride: If Kate Upton is the face of the curvy revolution, there's no hope for us
Let's hear it for Sports Illustrated.
One year after featuring size 16 model Ashley Graham on the cover in a history-making move, editors have chosen yet another "curvy" model for a coveted cover spot - Kate Upton.
At just 23 years old, Kate is already on her third Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover, a virtually unheard of feat when it comes to swimsuit modelling, and is often hailed for her "curves" (i.e. cleavage).
Similar to the 2016 issue, which signalled a move into a more diverse offering from the usual skinny-blonde-in-St-Barts-in-a-bikini theme which has made the mag such a resounding success since 1964, this year's theme is "body diversity and age inclusion".
So far, so good.
Now, here comes the kicker. This may come as shock to some readers, but Kate Upton isn't fat.
She isn't even a little overweight. She doesn't even have love handles. Or a shadow under her chin.
She has a large chest, a neat bum, a flat stomach and an impressive lack of body hair.
And here is where this magazine, which I have enjoyed watching evolve in recent years, gets it wrong - in fashion, Kate Upton is likely considered morbidly obese; but in real life, she is positively tiny.
"Kate is the woman who launched a thousand ships and changed the direction of the industry just by being on the cover of Swimsuit. She’s developed a passionate voice about it, advocates for it, and has come under harsh criticism for it," editor MJ Day said of her choice to feature Upton as this year's cover star yet again.
"But she maintains you should love your body and celebrate who you are and not try to change for anyone."
Is it an admirable ethos? Sure. Is it misguided in its effectiveness? Unfortunately yes.
And we've heard it countless times before.
No one is doubting claims by any model that they've been body shamed for not meeting the stick-thin requirements imposed on those in their industry, but on what planet are Gigi Hadid and Chrissy Teigen both considered curvy women whose stories about being "fat shamed" are supposed to bring us comfort?
Gigi famously said last year that the reason she wore a poncho during a Tommy Hilfiger fashion show is because none of the other clothes would fit her because she didn't fit the sample size; Teigen said she was once fired by Forever 21 for being "too fat"; Barbara Palvin was "fat shamed" for her turn in the SI Swimswuit Issue last year.
Hell, even Irish model Vogue Williams seems to think she's packing some extra pounds as she repeatedly referred to her "jiggly ass" during the body-building special of her On The Edge RTE series.
Their intentions should be celebrated - a group of women in their field are deciding to stand up against what it considered their norm. I just wish they didn't think it was everyone's norm.