The Not-So-New Normal

Have you heard the buzz about the Miss USA candidate from Indiana who is being praised for her average, normal body type?

Her name is Mekayla Diehl, and she is a stunning woman with a truly beautiful, down-to-earth smile. Her body looks toned, muscular, and feminine. She has curves in all of the right places, yet her silhouette is sleek and sculpted.

Diehl reports working out for 2 hours a day, 7 days a week to train for the Miss USA pageant. She proudly claims to have gained weight in muscle and explains how she focused her workouts on certain areas to give her a curvier shape. She reportedly ate a high-protein, low-carb diet, and we can all fill in the thrilling details of that diet on our own. She prepared herself for Miss USA like an athlete prepares for the season-winning game.

In other words, she worked really freaking hard to look that great in her bikini. Like, Terminator-bust-your-ass hard. And she’s a size 4! That is not normal; it’s not average. It is very much above-average in every applaudable way. But let’s please not allow the media to tell us that we can all aspire to this as a normal settling weight. I’m a size 8 on good days, a 10 on average days, and probably a 12 right now (I wouldn’t know, I’m only wearing clothes with elastic at the moment). I know that if I really put my mind to it, I could maybe squeeze into a 6. But, let’s be honest, the days of 4s are behind me, and I’ll probably always have some junk in my trunk. And I’m okay with that. So are a lot of the women I know.

Miss Indiana is clearly a strong, inspiring woman. But just because she does not look undernourished does not mean she is not in above-average shape. Despite steps in the right direction, our media (which, to go down a tangent, is just a hyper-reflection of our society at large) is still showing signs of a dysfunctional understanding of body health and esteem. What is the treatment? Is there a cure?

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