And for your daily dose of “body positivity” I present to you: Christie Brinkley and daughters. . . featured in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue.
Brinkley is perhaps the most famous model to grace the cover of the annual issue because she once appeared there three years in a row. Now she’s back in the magazine, with her two daughters flanking her wearing next to nothing. And they are spinning it as somehow empowering to women.
For starters, we are supposed to think Brinkley is defying ageism against women because she is 63. Never mind that she is a supermodel and hence a complete genetic anomaly because she still looks 33 (although she has also admitted to religious use of fillers, lasers, and Botox). Ironically, this has the effect of only reinforcing our stubborn cultural connection between beauty and age-defying youth.
According to Brinkley, when approached about appearing in the bikini issue at an age when many women are grandmothers, “My first thought was, ‘At my age? No way!’ When I turned 30, I was like, ‘This is the last time I’m posing in a bathing suit!’ When this issue comes out, I’ll be 63. I thought, ‘Those days are over.’”
Aw shucks, Christie! Aren’t you a piece of humble pie. Everyone else: don’t wear a swimsuit past age 30 if you are a woman.
But Brinkley was swayed by the chance to give it “one last go” with her daughters, who apparently have suffered from their own dark days of anxiety about appearing practically nude in a magazine that will be seen by millions of people.
“Thank you Sports Illustrated for sending the powerful message that good things come in packages of every size and we do not come with an expiration date!” said Brinkley.
Brinkley and daughters clearly think that they themselves come in some size other than stick thin, hence Alexa Ray Joel’s gushy humble brag on Instagram:
~’Twas a most humbling and rewarding honor to be a part of your February issue.🌹👑🖤 Thank you @si_swimsuit & @mj_day for making me feel so at home. This was a lesson in learning to let go, take the plunge, and embrace myself from both the inside AND out- which is something I struggle with each and every day. My purpose is to now pass along this lesson of unconditional self-love and self-respect to every woman who’s willing to listen. Once again, from the bottom of my heart… Thank You.~
In a piece for People magazine entitled, “Christie Brinkley’s Girls Alexa and Sailor Reveal They’ve Conquered Bullies and Body Shamers (and Still Love Carbs!),” sister Sailor Brinkley Cook echoed the sentiment: “I’ve never had this stick skinny classic model body. But with the help of my mom, I came to the conclusion that this is who I am and this is my body,” she says. “I eat very healthy and I work out all the time. If you want to book me, this is my body. That’s it. I’m not going to do crazy diets.”
People clarified in the next sentence that Cook is actually gluten free and vegan (and so can eat about five things), but “she isn’t afraid of the occasional splurge.” Phew!
So young women of today can rest assured that skinny women who don’t eat should dig deep and find the courage to embrace their bodies. The rest of us who eat and don’t weigh 100 pounds, well, forget about it. Or at least forget about the dream of appearing on the cover of soft porn for men, something Brinkley suggests is some sort of laudable life goal for a confident woman.
“How many years ago,” she said in an interview, “I was that insecure girl hoping that I would be good enough for the magazine. So to see my daughters now having the same thoughts I had, and to be able to see them actually be there on the job, was definitely a big moment.”
Isn’t the women’s movement grand? The struggle to look skinny enough to “grace” the pages (as CNN put it) of a magazine issue meant to titillate men’s fantasies involves not eating and wearing virtually nothing and is sold to the rest of us as some sort of empowering “big moment” for women young and old.
Sorry, Christie, but most of us can see the feminist movement for what it is: loosely strung together and barely there, like Brinkley’s daughters’ bikinis.