Astrophysicist Sarafina Nance, who appears in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, claps back at troll: ‘We don’t exist for consumption’
Tayler Adigun Tue, May 17, 2022, 3:19 PM·3 min read
Sports Illustrated Swim Search finalist and astrophysicist Sarafina Nance had a message for internet trolls after posing for the magazine's 2022 Swimsuit Issue in a yellow halter-neck bikini. On Monday, the Egyptian-American analog astronaut responded to a critic who called her modeling for the magazine demeaning.
“Fantastic for being an astrophysicist, but a swimsuit model?!!" the commenter wrote. "This is the problem that Marilyn Monroe faced that her audience only valued her for her body, not her brains... Imagine Madam Curie being a Playboy [centerfold]? Sorry, but it demean [sic] a woman with intelligence."
— mike little (@hadarachconsult) May 16, 2022
Nance had no time for that argument, insisting that women shouldn't be limited; she can model swimwear and study science.
"Your brand of ‘feminism’ isn’t real feminism if you’re dictating what a woman can do, look like and dream," Nance shot back. "Women aren’t objects. We don’t exist for conception. The point is that we can be everything — and anything — we want. Period."
— Sarafina Nance (@starstrickenSF) May 16, 2022
Nance also shared the interaction on her Instagram Story, where she noted that “this kind of comment is exactly why a photo shoot like this is important."
"Toppling misogynists one swimsuit at a time!!!” she added.
Nance is a 2022 finalist for the Sports IlIllustrated Swim Search, an annual casting call for aspiring and professional models to be featured in the publication. Other finalists include influential women such as Ashley Callingbull, the first Indigenous First Nations woman to be featured in the publication, and Gigi Robinson, the first Gen Z and chronically ill woman in the magazine.
i applied to @SI_Swimsuit to share my journey as a woman in STEM & show women breaking boundaries & defying stereotypes.
we shot 2 years after my double mastectomy.
the magazine drops Monday. until then, here’s my SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIM MODEL DEBUT!!!
— Sarafina Nance (@starstrickenSF) May 15, 2022
Last week Nance, who last year participated in HI-SEAS, a Mars simulation run by the International MoonBase Alliance (IMA), told her followers that she applied for the Swim Search to "share my journey as a woman in STEM and show women breaking boundaries and defying stereotypes."
She also noted that her shoot took place two years after she underwent a preventative double mastectomy after genetic testing revealed she was positive for the BRCA 2 genetic mutation, with an 87% lifetime risk of breast cancer. She was just 26 at the time.
Nance has been documenting her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit journey on TikTok.
“I wanted to show that women can pursue our dreams, defy stereotypes and be anything we want to be, no matter what,” she told Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
There is a lot to discuss here, including the content of the article, I’m interested in thoughts on that too. However, if you go to the original article link you’ll find yahoo has shut off the comments, they didn’t originally. It allowed comments and I counted a total of 2 of approximately 25 that did not make a comment on her weight. Most were predictably rude, including comments about “maybe she should remind herself that all food doesn’t need to be consumed either,” “not everyone who can wear a swimsuit should, I could see fat women in swimsuits at the beach anytime.”
I know yahoo is a cesspit. I’m also not a supporter of pretending that being obese is healthy, or that beauty (or lack of) says anything about any woman, it should be irrelevant, but I find myself continually shocked by the absolute lack of understanding about women's bodies. We are literally built to carry more fat than men. It’s why we survive famines more than they do. An extra 5 pounds on a woman is not only not unhealthy, it’s perfectly average. Maybe I’ve lost my mind but she looks supremely average in size to me. The weird obsession with women's weight is so unsettling.
I’d love to hear other thoughts, maybe I’m wrong about her size and I’m curious what people think of the article as well.