The Body… Beautiful

I first saw this Nike ad in a blog post a couple of weeks ago on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s website. It asked the question, “Does Nike’s New Ad Champion or Jeer at Overweight People?” The ad was run during the coverage for the Olympics and it was greeted with a wave of controversy because it depicts a 12 year old English boy named Nathan Sorrell who is in middle school, who is 5 ft 3 in and who weighs 200 pounds.

It brought to mind this ad for Equinox which depicts Briohny Smyth, a strong and sexy woman, doing a morning yoga routine in her underwear, steps away from her still sleeping boyfriend. Provocative for different reasons, it also, at the time it first appeared was not without its own controversy.


Both are first and foremost advertisements and ads are trying to sell a product, and each ad uses a bit of controversy to get people talking. Beneath that, they have really stuck with me for the same reason. The depiction of the human body doing physical activity and the controversy that resulted. The human body comes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. It comes in all different levels of abilities and it, in its various forms, is beautiful.

In my health coaching practice, I work with women to come to see themselves as beautiful. Through ads, we are often sold this line that perfection is attainable but what if, we were already perfect just as we are? What if we are each our own unique version of beautiful. A woman who inhabits her body fully, a woman who embraces her curves, accentuates her attributes and accepts her imperfections and her flaws is in the body beautiful.

“It’s important for all types of women to know that you don’t have to fit a prototype of what one person thinks is beautiful in order to be beautiful or feel beautiful…. People think, Sexy, big breasts, curvy body, no cellulite. It’s not that. Take the girl at the beach with the cellulite legs, wearing her bathing suit the way she likes it, walking with a certain air, comfortable with herself. That woman is sexy. Then you see the perfect girl who’s really thin, tugging at her bathing suit, wondering how her hair looks. That’s not sexy.” ~JENNIFER LOPEZ, Readers Digest, Aug. 2003