Body Positivity Momentum Rages on in New 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Issue (PHOTO)

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This year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is already making headlines for signing gorgeous plus-size model Ashley Graham as an official SI rookie, and now there's even more reason to celebrate: The magazine will also feature a Swimsuits for All #SwimSexy campaign starring models of all shapes and ages, featuring 56-year-old beauty Nicola Griffin!

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Swimsuits for All has been breaking down beauty barriers for some time now: In 2014, they recreated the famous SI cover starring Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, and Chrissy Teigen with plus-size models; last year, they made Graham the star of their #CurvesinBikinis campaign. In this year's stunning ads, Graham stars alongside Griffin and Philomena Kwao -- and all three of them look beyond amazing. This post from Kwao's Instagram shows off the trio's shots side-by-side:

Solid gold -- in more ways than one! Not very long ago at all, the SI Swimsuit Issue exclusively featured models who fit the mainstream, traditional standards of beauty: The majority of them were white, all of them were perfectly in shape (the closest they came to a plus-size model was Kate Upton, who, let's be real, is no plus-size model). Certainly NONE of them were 56 years old ... not even close! So I think SI definitely deserves credit for this step in their evolution, even if it does feel somewhat overdue. 

More from The Stir: Finally! 'Sports Illustrated' Has an Honest-to-God Plus-Size Bikini Model (PHOTO)

In a sense, this was an unavoidable move for the magazine (if they want to stay relevant, at least). Because this campaign is just one more piece of pop culture evidence that the tide is shifting when it comes to our society's definition of beauty. Female plus-size models are on the rise, with stars like Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy designing their own plus-size collections. Other stars, like Kate Winslet, have spoken out against the rampant over-airbrushing of photos that obliterate the perceived "flaws" of models and actresses. Still other stars, like Susan Sarandon, are refusing to let their "advanced" ages keep them from flaunting their considerable assets (um, did you see Sarandon's miraculous cleavage at the SAG awards??).

Gone are the days when every model everywhere was expected to look like some version of Christie Brinkley -- and if I'm dating myself with that reference, then you can understand why I'm so excited that a 56-year-old bikini model is gracing the pages of SI. I would say we're still a long way off from truly accepting and embracing every body type, but these victories are still significant. All women deserve to see themselves represented, and all women deserve to wear a fabulous gold bikini whenever they feel like it. Maybe now, more women will be empowered to take the plunge!


Image via philomenakwao/Instagram

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