Image via Frida Mom
In the past years, Sports Illustrated has been making an effort to depict models outside the singular archetype of female beauty for its famed Swimsuit Issue. In 2020, the swimsuit edition cast a 56-year-old mother to appear in the magazine; and last year, it enlisted its first trans woman.
The latest print will serve as a badge of glory for mothers who have felt pressured by society to cover up their cesarean scars.
Sports Illustrated’s 2022 Swimsuit Issue features model Kelly Hughes, who still has the mark from when she gave birth to her son three years ago. In the shoot, she pulls her bikini bottoms a little lower to flaunt the cut.
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The creative is part of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s new partnership with Frida Mom, a brand focused on delivering essentials for postpartum recovery. Frida Mom is the first collaborator in the Swimsuit Issue’s Pay With Change initiative, in which it vows to only work with advertising partners who are fighting for gender equity.
Chelsea Hirschhorn, founder of Frida Mom, shares in a statement (via HuffPost) that tapping into the Swimsuit Issue could help correct archaic perceptions of women’s bodies.
Taking to Instagram, the model praises how the partnership is working to help “normalize and embrace the changes with a woman’s body.”
“I struggled with insecurities from my scar, being that I’m a model, and my incredibly difficult recovery, but it wasn’t until I embraced my scar that I experienced the true power in it,” Huges elaborates.
As detailed by the Swimsuit Issue, almost a third of births in the US each year have involved C-sections. In spite of this, many mothers have been led to feel conscious about having gone through the process not only because of the scar but also because of “maternal FOMO” and the cultural perception that caesareans are “the easy way out.”
“This is a celebration of women and their bodies in all forms, and an amplification [of] the power of the female body—especially when becoming a mom,” the magazine declares.
[via HuffPost and Sports Illustrated, images via various sources]