‘Sorry, Not Beautiful.’

No doubt we were all amused this week by the back-and-forth between Sports Illustrated cover model Yumi Nu and Jordan Peterson.

Peterson, a never-ending source of media outrage, tweeted, ‘Sorry, not beautiful’ in regard to her plus-sized appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated. To which the model responded, saying something like, ‘Who cares what men who look like they have scurvy think of my appearance?’

I want to offer an opinion on this, because I think I do have some skin in the game.

As a personal trainer, people come to see me so they can ‘get fit, lose weight and tone up’. Before hard cardio or weight training, these aspirations can only be achieved if you start with a simple conversation.

The fact is, manipulating your body composition is 70% governed by what you put in your mouth.

Once you make that statement to a client, the next thing to follow is often an avalanche of justifications pertaining to unrealistic social expectations, body image, media manipulation, and ‘fitness’ being irrelevant to appearance.

A person’s reasons for wanting to change their weight, or let it remain the way it is, are entirely their own business. It is not my right to judge or comment on the appearance of anyone who is in my care.

However, if they want to change it, they have to acknowledge that doing so requires acknowledgment of the fact that they have to alter the way they run their lives in relation to diet and exercise.

This can plumb deeper issues relating to how they manage stress and how well they sleep, and whether they medicate themselves with food or alcohol, and so you find yourself winding back into issues hard-wired into the very seat of the personality which are the province of no one but the psychologist, or the priest.

My personal view is that the Sports Illustrated model is very unattractive. I have been taught that standards of beauty have changed over time, and while I accept this as true, I do not believe everything I hear, especially in regard to this.    

To begin with, it is necessary to separate the idea that a woman’s sexual attractiveness is in any way related to her intelligence, or competency in doing her job, or essential moral worth as a human being. But if she’s obese, she’s not sexually attractive.

Obese models on the cover of Sports Illustrated are proof of how utterly morally bankrupt these sorts of publications are in the face of earning money. They will bend whichever way the barometer of public opinion tells them to.

In her book The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolff writes that there are several iterations of beauty for a man, while there is only one for women; the thin, insect-like fashion model. I am not entirely convinced of this; there is also the bombshell.

That said, for the little my own opinion is worth, I have found myself deeply attracted to all sorts of women for all sorts of reasons, and I am not convinced that sexual attraction is something firmly located in the physical.

A person’s character is the quality that lights and animates their appearance, and that appearance becomes symbolic of the person you know and how they make you feel.

In fact, their appearance is a symbol in your mind which becomes loaded with memories and associations, and so often, the people that we’re attracted to draw us because of something they evoke inside of us; something we remember. Something that is a part of the beholder themselves.

However, some people are simply more physically attractive than others. Keeping Wolff’s observation in mind, I would like to submit the following article for consideration: it shows a series of female athletes of different colours, shapes and sizes. All of these women have shaped by the sports in which they participate.

Some of them entered these sports because their bodies gave them advantages, and all of them were further shaped through physical effort and a reasonably strict diet.

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