Dear Tyra, Let’s Change Body-Type Stigma

I have an obsession for America’s Next Top Model. Okay. There. I said it. I’ve seen every episode of every season at least two times (and some episodes in the range of ten times.)

I think it’s pretty obvious that I love competition. That’s just my nature. And, I’ve secretly always had this desire to be a model. Ridiculous, right?

(See, I can be a model…I’m smizing, right? Is this smizing? Maybe this is too literal with too much mouth and teeth. And um…what a great male model to be posing with…ooh lah lah!)

Well, this may only sound ridiculous because society has put a body-type stigma on models. A model has to be at least 5’7″…I mean, that is the minimum height requirement to even tryout to be a contestant for America’s Next Top Model. (It was a sad day for me when the ANTM crew came to Kansas City this year and it wasn’t for a “short girl” season.) Society also has put a weight stigma on models. Models should be “thin” (in quotations for a reason) and if you are not “thin” then you cannot be a model or you could be a plus-size model, which from what I’ve seen looks pretty much like an average person.

Please don’t get me wrong…I am not putting down models or modeling in any way! I love models (especially this former one!), I can’t get enough ANTM, I drool while watching the Victoria’s Secret runway show every year, and I’ve always had the desire to be in front of a camera. What I am getting at is the fact that the world has created a stigma on how a model should look.

Which leads to our own body dissatisfaction.

My own body dissatisfaction.

I am grateful, however, that at this point in my life I have the knowledge and skills to understand that it’s just a stigma. I love all five foot three and however many pounds of me. I cannot change what God created to fit into a stigma that the world created…and I don’t want to anymore.

By golly, if I’m ever going to be on America’s Next Top Model, it will be because Tyra Banks has decided to do a season on girls of any shape or size or height or weight or ethnicity who cherish their bodies and who have a determination to change the world’s (yes, even the fashion industry’s) emphasis on body-types.

Tyra, are you reading this? (Mr. Jay…Ms. Jay…anyone?!) Hi, my name is Angela. I’m 5’3″ and want to be on your show! I will even cut my hair for you if you want…or dye it, or curl it, or even wear a weave! My husband might never talk to me again, but if it’s in the name of eliminating body-type stigma, then I’m in! I promise! Please and thank you!

(Okay, now this is smizing.)




My Pinky Toes Take on Weight Stigma

I’ve always wanted to be Miss America. Like really, really, really bad. However, since I am a married gal now, I will never actually have the chance to actually be her. Is there a Mrs. America? Please let me know, because I would like to try out. 🙂

Miss America Crownsource

I’ve thought about it a lot over the years (okay, I’m a dork) about what I would do if I had the opportunity. I know I would have advocated for eating disorder awareness and promoted a positive body image. And even though I am not Miss America, and never will be (tear!), I am still trying to do everything I can to fulfill my Miss America mission. That is why I was so excited to find out about the blog carnival about weight stigma hosted by Kendra over at Voice in Recovery.

Before I get into my thoughts on weight stigma, I first just want to say how refreshing it is to read Kendra’s tweets throughout the day. If you are ever in need of an uplift, you can always find it from her. Thank you pretty.

Weight stigma. Yuck.

Let’s travel back, oh, about seven or eight years ago. School just got dismissed and I am walking through the hallways of my high school trying to gather my things to get ready to go to diving practice. I had been burying myself in many negative eating disorder habits for awhile, and for a split second I decided to ignore that voice and go ahead and eat a poptart. I know poptarts aren’t the healthiest or best food to eat, but it was what I wanted at the time, and I needed some food.

I pop my change in the vending machine, quickly open the plastic package, and start to devour the delicious little poptart. Strawberry favor with little sprinkles.

My friend comes up to join me in the hallway. He says,


So, that means divers are supposed to only eat healthy.

So, that means divers are supposed to be skinny.

So, that means the world has this idea of what I should look like.

So, that means that I must not be good enough.


Fast forward to now. I don’t blame my friend for saying that or for the after effects of a negative body image. The truth is, that is what “the world” has taught us…that certain people should look a certain way. Weight stigma.

(quote from “Who Calls Me Beautiful” by Regina Franklin)

What if we lived in a world where everyone rejoiced in our uniquenesses? No one should have to think poorly about themselves because they don’t fit into the cookie cutter image that the world has created for them.

What if the norms of “the world” were positive affirmations rather than put downs and negative self talk.

Let’s make it happen…

…starting today!