“The cycle of body-shaming needs to end. I’m over it.” – Ashley Graham
#ImWithHer and no we’re not talking about Clinton. Ashley Graham for president sounds just right.
The plus-size model has finally spoken on her viral Instagram photo, that left fans and critics wondering if the #BeautyBeyondSize advocate was slimming down under the Hollywood spotlight.
While filming America’s Next Top Model, Graham was snapped wearing a white knit skirt, crop top and Balmain cropped coat. Once posted, Ashley says, “Some people were upset because I appeared to be slimmer. (Knowing my angles is one thing, but I must be a magician to make people think I went from a size 14 to a size 6 in a week!) The reality is I haven’t lost a pound this year.”
The article Graham wrote for Lenny Letter, “Ashley Graham: Shamed If I Do, Shamed If I Don’t,” shares the most hurtful comments left on her Instagram feed:
“You don’t make plus-size dollars anymore, you make backstabbing dollars.”
“You don’t love the skin you’re in, you want to conform to Hollywood, you believe being skinnier is prettier.”
“Fame has made Ashley follow the herd, and lose her voluptuousness.”
“Fake fat person.”
Sticks and stones, right? We’ve oftentimes heard celebrities admit that they don’t look at the social media comments, for it’s a slippery slope to being entirely consumed by the hater commentary. However, Ashley says, “My followers are the first people I turn to for feedback on anything I do, from designing my lingerie, dress, and swimsuit lines to the things I discuss in my public speeches. I have to read the comments.”
Ashley is not naive. She understands there will be haters and normally, she says, she can read through them knowing she has been conditioned as a model for 16 years to shake off the criticism. This time, however; the model had enough.
Graham calls out the critics:
“Body shaming isn’t just telling the big girl to cover up. It’s trying to shame me for working out. It’s giving “skinny” a negative connotation. It’s wanting me to be plus size, or assuming I’m pregnant because of some belly bulge. What type of example are we setting for young girls and their self-esteem if grown adults are on Instagram calling other women “cowards” for losing weight, or “ugly” for being overweight?”
Ashley says, sure she works out, at times loving to work up a decent sweat. But she also indulges in extra cheesy mac n’ cheese every once in awhile. She asserts her advocacy for women of any body types. Whether you’re skinny, full-figured, short, tall or anywhere in between – Ashley and her platform stand for owning your uniqueness, not tearing down the sight of others.
If you’ll notice, Ashley Graham was introduced in this article as “the plus-size model,” for Graham and her industry-labeled body have become synonymous. However, Graham asserts, “I am more than my measurements. I’m not Ashley Graham just because I’m curvy.”
She’s a woman who exudes the confidence that other women are inspired by. She’s a woman that owns the body she was given and won’t apologize for it’s suggested flaws. Ashley Graham is not defined by one person, one industry or one photo.
No better statement proves Graham’s self-confidence and awareness than her concluding note: “My body is MY body. I’ll call the shots.”
And (hopefully) the critics rest.