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Why I'm Glad Curvy Women Are Finally Being Objectified

Her pants—bright pink with lighter pink polka dots—rested just beneath her belly. Her matching T-shirt rode up to reveal this wide expanse of skin, which I often jiggled because it made her laugh. The sleeves hugged her upper arms, revealing great dimples of skin at both the elbows and the wrists. She gave me The Serious Look, gazing at me solemnly, eyebrows raised, double chins pressed against her shirt's collar.

This was my favorite facial expression out of all her facial expressions. God, I couldn't get enough of her.

"Lookit that belly," my dad said, laughing and giving it a poke. I shot him a dirty look.

"She's got Flintstone feet," he said wonderingly, referring to her baby cankles.

"What did I tell you," I snapped, my voice rising.

"What? She can't understand me yet."

RELATED: What My Daughter Taught Me About Body Image

But it was the principle of the matter, I thought to myself. I knew my parents didn't mean any harm when they joked about my daughter's pudge. But I had grown hypersensitive to my parents' fat jokes over the years. My dad had always joked about other people's weight. My mom had always had a complex about her own. The both of them had given me a complex, too. And though I knew it wasn't something they'd ever done intentionally, I didn't want my daughter growing up to think that curves were something that warranted jokes and cruel snickers. No matter what shape she ended up with, I wanted her to know it was beautiful.

So I was starting early, banning all comments about size and shape and weight.

"She's a curvy woman," I sometimes say when someone else slips. It took me years to say those words about my body with something approaching pride. I want her to know them from the very beginning.

Sure, we're supposed to be secure in our awesomeness, no matter how others see us. But it still feels nice to feel pretty. It still feels nice to know that others find us desirable and attractive.

This past week, Sports Illustrated announced that it was featuring two "plus-sized" (i.e. normal-looking) women in their annual swimsuit edition. Robyn Lawley, a size smaller than me at size 12, is the second curviest model to ever appear in this edition. Ashley Graham, size 14, is the curviest.

"I don't know if I consider myself as a plus-size model or not," Lawley tells Time magazine, making me want to hug her. "I just consider myself a model because I'm trying to help women in general accept their bodies."

Amen to that.

Reactions to the announcement are mixed. Some are congratulating the publication for spotlighting women with average body types. Others wonder whether they deserve the congratulations. Someone in my Twitter feed, for example, snarked about how curvy women are finally considered attractive enough to be objectified, striking a tone similar to Alicia Lutes's satirical response to the news on attn:. As someone who self-identifies as a feminist, I feel as if I should agree with them. That I should show scorn over the fact that Sports Illustrated has expanded the pool of those it considers worthy of objectification.

But a bigger part of me (perhaps my thunder thighs?) is saying hell yes, objectify me! Please do show curvier women that their bodies are worth the appreciative gaze of others. I mean, it's a fact I already know to be true. Men have always reveled in my bootyliciousness. But it's a fact that is not echoed in the mainstream media or in pop culture, where larger people are often presented as comic relief if they're even represented at all.

Sure, we're supposed to be secure in our awesomeness, no matter how others see us. But it still feels nice to feel pretty. It still feels nice to know that others find us desirable and attractive. That knowledge of desirability is an added bonus no matter how self-assured you are as a person.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Help Your Daughter Build a Better Body Image

So, yes, thank you Sports Illustrated. Please do objectify me. Maybe it will finally inspire other publications (women's magazines, perhaps?) to follow suit.

And I'm sorry, everyone else, but I can't work up any amount of indignation over the possibility that such a thing might possibly happen.

I want my daughter to grow up feeling pretty, in addition to feeling smart, strong, talented, and generally kick-ass. How interesting that Sports Illustrated is one of the first magazines to model that for her.

Image via Sports Illustrated/James Macari

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