Sports Illustrated: Is this curvy cover a good thing?

Twitter/SI Swimsuit

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The photo features a beautiful model on the beach. She is stunning, confident and curvy. Her body shape is showcased in a bikini while she’s standing in the surf with a sultry expression.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is wildly popular. It’s anticipated and celebrated by millions of people all over the globe each year. But, this time it’s different.

Dr. Dae Sheridan and her students
Dr. Dae Sheridan and her students

The magazine is making history with two unique firsts in its swimsuit edition. There are actually three covers featured for the 2016 issue – each one featuring a different body type. The one being talked about the most is that of a gorgeous model named Ashley Graham. That’s because for the first time ever in the history of the magazine, a size 14 model is gracing the cover. It’s been called groundbreaking. “We’re making history, Graham herself told TODAY.

The model’s curves and confidence are heating up the headlines, creating conversations everywhere, including classrooms at the University of South Florida. News Channel 8 was part of the discussion during a human sexuality class taught by Dr. Dae Sheridan. We posed this question to students: Is a curvy cover a good thing?

“I don’t think there should always be a skinny, thin model every time,” one young woman answered.

Another student told us, “I think it’s great. Being a plus-sized person myself, I would like to see more people like me on there.”

A male student explained, “I like curves, and I know a lot of guys do.  I think it’s a misconception to women to see these kind of covers thinking that we all like skinny, itty-bitty bodies, which isn’t true.”

While Dr. Sheridan is glad this topic is being discussed and debated, she says there’s still a long way to go. She is hoping this cover is not just a one-time thing. “We’re close, but we’re not there just yet,” Sheridan said.

“I think what people want to see is people that they perceive are real,” the USF professor said. She also points out what’s truly attractive about Graham is not necessarily her size, but her sass.

“People say that the most beautiful and attractive thing to someone else is confidence,” Sheridan said. “And so if Ashley can be out there and look confident, then that’s what makes her attractive to people.”

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