Celebrating Bodies of All Sizes

Why I started a national, body-positive women’s magazine based right here in Peoria

by Mary Beth Cooper, Curvicality
Curvicality founder, Mary Beth Cooper
Mary Beth Cooper is cofounder of Curvicality, a digital media platform specifically designed for plus-size women.

I remember flipping through the women’s magazines in the grocery store checkout line so many times in my life, feeling like my body didn’t add up. “Why couldn’t I have been born into a body like that?” I would think.

My experiences are not unique. Most of us don’t look like the women in magazines and on TV. In fact, according to The Body Project, just five percent of us match the media ideal. 

In 2019, a crazy idea popped into my head. What if I could change that? What if I could use my experience as a journalist to change the landscape of media on a national level?

Enter Curvicality Magazine
Curvicality is a national online women’s magazine and community founded right here in Peoria. We bring plus-size women the inside scoop on fashion, fitness, relationships, lifestyle and news. With nearly 34,000 Facebook followers and a steadily increasing online presence, we have team members in Peoria, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Our goal is to change the landscape of media by offering curvy women a community where they can grow and connect.

CurvicalityTwo of the most unique members of our team are Los Angeles-based influencers Amanda LaCount and Carmen Rene. LaCount is a plus-size dancer who has been seen on Ellen, DWTS, ABC’s The Little Mermaid Live with Queen Latifah, in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty New York Fashion Week Show, and has danced with Meghan Trainor, Lizzo and Katie Perry. Carmen Rene is a model, influencer and lymphedema spokesperson with an Instagram following larger than the population of Peoria. 

As Curvicality grows, we plan to create jobs in the Peoria market. Though we will always have a presence in larger cities, our core team will remain right here to support this community. 

Glorifying vs. Accepting
A common criticism of the body acceptance movement is that it “glorifies” obesity. That’s untrue. Body acceptance is about loving your body as it is today. If a woman wants to start a fitness journey, lose weight or both, that’s her choice. But her weight has no bearing on her value as a human being or her right to wear fashionable clothing, get out there and date, improve her relationships, travel or anything else.

Women too often feel they will improve their social lives, hang out at the pool, look for a relationship or buy a better wardrobe later—after they’ve lost weight. We say: live your life now.

About 60 percent of women in the U.S. are considered plus-size. That’s a solid majority of us who are being told we are not good enough. That we should feel shame about our bodies. That our images are not good enough to be shown in the media without a lot of Photoshopping. That we need to be on a diet at all times, regardless of the fact that dieting often doesn’t work. 

It’s time to stand up to the mainstream media and say ENOUGH. Your intrinsic worth is not defined by your body type. Your body is an amazing work of art. Celebrate it. That’s what Curvicality is all about. PM

Mary Beth Cooper, MBA, is the founder and CEO of Curvicality, born and raised in Peoria. In her spare time, she can be found hanging out with her fur kids (Gabbana and Taber), taking a Peloton ride or run (her favorite hobby), catching up with friends and spending time with family. She can be reached at Marybeth@curvicality.com. Learn more at curvicality.com, or find them on Facebook or Instagram.

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