By Shelia Hageman, 18th February 2016

Age-Positivity – The New Politically Correct Movement

Sports Illustrated's 2016 Swimsuit Issue to feature 56-year-old model

Sports Illustrated’s 2016 Swimsuit Issue to feature 56-year-old model

When the new “curvy” and “petite” Barbies were announced last week, I may have reacted a tad bitterly.
Can you blame me? So much of the new body-loving advertisements and products just seem so… contrived, politically correct and news grabby.

If a brand wants their name passed around the social media water cooler, they can easily spark a conversation by being edgy and using a “curvy” model.

Of course, those “curves “are often still reined into cultural norms of a Playboy model-type curvy. You know the type: heaving bosom, ample hips and a perfectly large, yet firm and pert derriere.

Companies may court controversy, but only so far.

So when I saw the headline about Sports Illustrated’s 2016 Swimsuit Issue having not only a curvy model, but an older one at that, I expected “older” to mean, you know… 30.

Then I saw the age: 56.

I have to admit, my heart skipped a beat.

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Could it truly be that Sports Illustrated was actually going to use a much older model posing in a bikini in their magazine?

Seriously, my heart actually fluttered in my chest.

Then I read on and my heart chugged back into its normal rhythm.

Oh… a swimsuit company, Swimsuits For All, the same one that used a “curvy” model for the first time ever in an ad in last year’s SI 2015 issue, was going to feature the 56-year-old model, Nicola Griffin in their advertisement.


Ok. Not quite as exciting as thinking she was going to be an actual SI model, but still…

Baby steps.

Why am I feeling pretty pumped about the age barrier breaking down, when I wasn’t quite so amped up about the new Barbies?

Perhaps it’s that I’m feeling like we keep taking the same small steps when it comes to body acceptance in our society. It’s like Body Positivity has become the new “It” girl of political correctness, kicking yoga off its former pillar.

Now yoga has become pretty mainstream and accepted.

Age, though, could be the new “It” girl. If Age Positivity could just kind of give Body Positivity a little nudge to the side, maybe we’d see it just become more accepted and… normal.

Nowadays, how many people do you see walking around with their yoga mats rolled under their arms? It’s no biggie.

Imagine if accepting and loving our bodies became like those yoga mats?

Totally standard and conventional.

Maybe we could see really curvacious and overweight people walking down the street in yoga pants and instead of nasty comments, they will receive bravos and way to go’s!

And while everyone is adjusting to the new norm, the new edgy will sneak in!


Articles with titles like: Age Positivity in 3 Easy Steps, 10 Simple Rules For Loving Your Wrinkles and Loving Your Years will start filling our Twitter feeds.

We’ll start celebrating every age and pretty soon, the newly celebrated “mature” model will go from 56 to 76 and 86, just as our curvy models go from Playboy-esque size 10 to larger common American sizes like 14, 16 and 18.

One day, before we know it, all of these external, physical markers…whether they be of body size, age or colour…will just not be important at all.

We’ll all realise we are beautiful just as we are and companies will catch on that seeing “perfect” human representations in advertisements doesn’t make us want to buy products. They’ll use all types of humans in their ads and that will become the norm.

We’ll hear no more use of the term “real” women because we’ll all realise that we are all truly real women and we’ll learn to love all forms of realness.

But, you know, some people may argue back at me that my act of writing about this issue is just as attention-seeking as companies using the “It” cause of the moment.

I mean, I am a writer, right? I want readers just as much as big name companies wants customers.

What makes me so different?

Don’t we all yearn to do something attention worthy because of the good it brings to the world?

Oh, wait… that may be the difference. I want my words to be heard, granted, but I want to make a difference with those words, not for myself, but for the world.


(Note from The Editor: Many thanks to Sheila Hageman for her contribution as a Glass House Guest. To learn more about her you can visit her website or Catch up with her on Twitter  or on her Facebook Page here or check out her author page hereHer memoir, Stripping Down from Pink Fish Press, is available to buy from amazon here.)

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