The fashion industry has dictated our beauty standards for a long time. But slowly and steadily, society has begun to reshape the definition of beauty. One model took it an extra step and decided to show the world the realities of being a model and a mom.
Mara Martin recently walked the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway while naturally feeding her baby, and people are divided on how to feel about it. Some believe she was championing women’s rights, while other’s considered it a disgusting stunt. Check out how one woman sparked a debate in the fashion industry with just one runway walk.
Meet Mara Martin
Mara Martin was living a perfectly normal life for any aspiring swimsuit model. She lives in Miami with her newly engaged fiancé, and their five-month-old daughter, Aria.
Martin has modeled for Roxy, Beach Babe swimwear, and Miami Magazine. So, naturally, she decided to try out for the Sports Illustrated Miami Swim Week show.
She Rocked The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Runway
This shot from the Sports Illustrated runway shows that Martin was feeling herself as she became one of the sixteen finalists in the competition. Martin had endured multiple 12-hour days standing around in heels, walking for casting directors, and doing it all while holding Aria on her hip.
Plenty of women are working moms, but aren’t in the spotlight like Martin. She’s embracing this unique opportunity to show that moms can work and feel beautiful too.
Then She Became The First Woman To Breastfeed On The Runway
When it came down to the final runway show, Aria shocked the audience by walking the runway holding Aria as she breastfed. While wearing a gorgeous two-piece gold swimsuit, Martin carefully nursed Aria while confidently strutting her post-baby body and showing moms around the world that they can still feel sexy.
The audience loved the show, but once the news hit the internet, people had some differing opinions.
Some Saw Her Action As Encouraging And Bringing Attention To Working Moms
Many women applauded Martin for showing the world the reality of being a working mom. Any working mom knows that juggling a meaningful career while raising a child isn’t easy.
The outcry against a lack of public spaces for women to breastfeed has been present in the media recently. Women saw Martin’s actions as an essential statement about public breastfeeding.
Others Were Disgusted And Thought It Was A Publicity Stunt
Opposite this, other people felt the act was a publicity stunt and wildly inappropriate. Some even called the action “disgusting” and “gross.”
Even though 48 states protect mothers breastfeeding in public, many women have been asked to “cover up” by complete strangers who find the natural act uncomfortable.
Mara’s Close Friend Came To The Rescue And Told Us The Truth
Samantha Purcell, one of Martin’s close friends, decided to speak out against the haters. In a Facebook comment, Purcell explained that “When it came time to walk, right before the show started, the baby was nursing. The editor suggested she just go for it and take the baby with her.” It wasn’t planned, and the baby was hungry.
Next, see what Martin had to say about her actions.
Mara Took The Opportunity To Bring Attention To The Real Issues
Unsurprisingly, Martin was overwhelmed by the response her runway walk got. In an Instagram post, she thanked everyone but took the time to bring attention to others models in the show.
Martin noted that her story shouldn’t be a headline when other models walking the same runway were cancer survivors, members of the military, and even a Paralympian gold medalist.
She’s Not The First Woman To Be Candid About Being A Mom
Martin isn’t the first to be open and candid about being a working mom. Model Chrissy Teigen has never been scared to show the world what it’s like to raise two kids.
This photo of her breastfeeding her child outraged some of her social media followers. Let’s be honest, Chrissy doesn’t care.
Even The Dads Are Getting In On It
Chrissy isn’t the only one candid about being a working mom. Her husband, John Legend, has always been her number one supporter and posted this photo of her on Father’s Day thanking her for all she does.
Continue on to see how one small runway walk has contributed to the changing face of the fashion industry.
Block Out The Haters, Because Sports Illustrated Was Here For It
If Martin was worried about backlash, she can now sleep soundly knowing that Sports Illustrated has her back. Shortly after Martin began making the news, Sports Illustrated posted the runway video to their Instagram with the caption “GIRL POWER.”
Knowing that the magazine and the editors were so encouraging of Martin’s action shows that a major change is happening in the fashion industry.
Leyna Bloom Is Trying To Be The First Transgender Victoria’s Secret Model
The standard of beauty is changing. Fashion models are no longer restricted to size, age, gender, race, or ability.
Leyna Bloom is currently on route to becoming the first transgender Victoria’s Secret model. Bloom already made history walking in 2017’s New York Fashion Week and won’t be stopped any time soon.
It Helps That Andreja Pejić Just Became The First Transgender Model To Be Featured In Vogue
Bloom is one of the few openly transgender models in the fashion industry alongside Andreja Pejić. Pejić has a string of ‘firsts’ to her name, including being the first transgender model to grace the covers of GQ and Vogue.
Keep reading to see what other firsts have happened in recent years that make the fashion industry more diverse and inclusive.
Vogue Also Recently Championed Plus-Size Model Ashley Graham On Their Cover
In early 2017, Vogue featured plus-size model Ashley Graham on their cover. The body-positive community was excited to see Graham on a major magazine cover.
Vogue has been the voice of fashion for more than a century, so when a transgender model or a plus-size model gets featured, it can change the entire industry.
L’Oreal Recently Featured The First Haircare Ad With A Woman Wearing A Hijab
It’s not only magazines and runway shows that have become more inclusive. In early 2018, L’Oreal featured online influencer Amena Khan in an ad for hair products even though she wears a hijab.
Speaking about the campaign, Khan said she hoped it would change the misconception of how Muslim women feel about their hair and femininity.
Meanwhile, Maria Borges Rocked Her Natural Hair For The First Time In Victoria’s Secret History
Speaking of hair, Victoria’s Secret model Maria Borges finally got to walk the runway with her hair styled in a natural short afro in 2016. Borges has walked in the show twice beforehand, but both times she had worn a weave that gave her long, straight hair.
Coming up, it’s not just models that have changed our beauty standards.
Lingerie Retailer Aerie Featured A Full Ad Campaign Highlighting Models With Disabilities
Aerie has been running their Aerie Real campaign since 2014 where they committed to not retouching their models. Since then, they have expanded their no retouching campaign to include plus-size models, athletes, and even people with disabilities.
Their latest campaign featured women in wheelchairs, hand crutches, with ostomy pouches, and diabetes monitors.
Mikayla Holmgren Became The First Miss USA State Competitor With Down Syndrome
22-year-old Mikayla Holmgren made history in 2017 as being the first women with down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state competition. Although she didn’t win the title of Miss Minnesota USA, she was happy breaking down barriers and stereotypes.
The pageant directors were impressed by Holmgren’s “energy, confidence, and attitude.”
Shaun Ross Has Been One Of The Most Visible Members Of The Albino Community
Albino model Shaun Ross broke into the industry in 2008 and has been a force to reckon with. Ross also identifies as pansexual and uses his place in the industry to speak up for LGBTQ+ rights.
A lot of the change in the fashion industry can be attributed to people like Ross who have unapologetically broken the rules.
Even Barbie Decided It’s Time To Change Their Ways
Many have believed that Barbie’s appearance is a reason why young girls grow up with deformed beauty standards. In 2017, Mattel decided to switch things up and release new and improved Barbie and Ken dolls with different heights, weights, and hair.
If you thought a shift in the fashion industry was a big deal, then a change to Barbie’s look is more significant.
Mattel Is Also Championing Diversity And Feminist History
Mattel didn’t stop with body diversity. For Women’s Day in 2018, Mattel released a line of Barbies based on iconic females in history.
Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, and Katherine Johnson were among the historical figures. Also included were plus-size model Ashley Graham (sound familiar?), Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, and filmmaker Patty Jenkins.