Meeting other women from all over the world at competitions has been an amazing experience for Burns. Far from being ashamed of their bodies, they proudly flaunt them. It's been a wakeup call for the big boned 28-year-old.
She says that watching a female Sumo match is awe inspiring. They're quick and agile. They're powerful and balletic. They are the very definition of grace and sport. It's the same with other large female athletes. I once tried out for a professional woman's football team (don't ask) and was tackled by a 240-pound woman who went by the name of Tonka. I consider myself a fast runner but even with a several yard head start, she scooped me up off the grass and onto her shoulders within seconds. For me this was a revelation. It helped break down the walls of my own prejudices and made me realize that fitness and athleticism -- much like beauty -- comes in many shapes and sizes.
My point isn't that we should all be snubbing the professionally skinny and embracing female Sumos as the new and only fashion icon. I just wish there was room in the glossies for the large, small and everyone in between. And I do like the idea that female Sumos, while bulky, are fit and in shape. They work out hard, not so they can be "teeny tiny" but for strength, endurance and flexibility; exactly the attributes experts say we should all be striving for, to improve our health, confidence and appearance. We don't all have to enter a Sumo ring but the workout and its goals are within reach for many women. And if Sumo gets the Olympic green light, let's lobby for a Marie Claire fashion spread. Actually, even if it doesn't.
Anyone else with me? How would you feel about high fashion Sumos? Or do you prefer your fashion (and fitness) exactly as is? Please post your comments below.