Nike Features Curvy Women In Workout Gear Without Making It About Being ‘Plus Size’

If you don’t follow Nike Women on Instagram, I highly recommend you go do it now.

Between drool-worthy shots of the latest Flyknit sneakers, motivational quotes and workout tips, it’s all good. But last week, something new was added to the mix: a curvy woman modeling a sports bra and a caption discussing how to tell if yours fits correctly. The world was, unsurprisingly, by turns aghast, agape and awe-inspired; some applauded Nike’s inclusivity, others recommended the woman (who is Paloma Elesser, a New York-based model signed under Muse Management’s plus-size division), drop a few pounds.

What can we take from all of this? The knowledge that curvy girls do, in fact, work out (news flash!). And they also wear sports bras.

The caption to Elesser’s photograph bears no mention of her size, no laudatory statements regarding her commitment to dropping a dress size or two: just information on how your sports bra should fit and easy ways to tell if it doesn’t.

In an age where Amy Schumer is described as “plus size” for being a size 6, it is nothing short of bold for Nike to enter the arena of this fraught topic with absolutely no mention of weight.

Because there is no context surrounding Elesser’s photograph – other than the fact that she’s modeling for Nike – it normalizes her existence in the exercise arena where everyone wants nothing more than to look just like a clone of Instagram queen Kayla Itsines.

LISS in Bali earlier today! ??

A photo posted by Kayla Itsines (@kayla_itsines) on

While critics (because there are always critics) are decrying Nike for only carrying many of its new sports bras in sizes up to XL or E, which is considered by some experts to be pretty much the same size as a DD, this is undeniably a hopeful step towards a more inclusive workout culture. Point to Nike.