‘The cycle of body-shaming needs to end,’ Ashley Graham writes
Ashley Graham is over the “too fat, too thin” debate that feels like it’s taking place 24/7 and so are we. The body positivity movement’s goal was to make women feel more confident not make different types of women feel bad. Graham penned a personal post for Lenny Letter that addresses this issue after she dealt with it herself.
The gorgeous lady graced the covers of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Cosmopolitan, and Maxim this year alone. She’s celebrated for raising awareness about the lack of diversity in the sizes of models hired in the fashion industry. But recently she was shamed online for appearing to be what some deemed too thin.
“I am so disappointed in you,” one person wrote. “You don’t make plus-size dollars anymore, you make backstabbing dollars,” another added. “You don’t love the skin you’re in, you want to conform to Hollywood, you believe being skinnier is prettier,” a person shared.
Graham was quick to point out that she’s a model who knows her angles well and knows how to pose for a great photo. “I must be a magician to make people think I went from a size 14 to a size 6 in a week,” she wrote. “The reality is I haven’t lost a pound this year. In fact, I’m actually heavier than I was three years ago, but I accept my body as it is today.”
But her size – regardless of what it is – shouldn’t matter. It isn’t our responsibility to stalk people online with constant comments on their appearance. If she loses some weight, great. If she gains some weight, great. The “she” in those sentences refers to not only Graham but to every woman. Because we all have the same right to live our life at whatever size we want without getting nasty comments for doing so. Our bodies are ours – they belong to no one else. Personally, my closet has at least four different sizes of clothing. My weight fluctuates, and that’s just how it is.
“No matter how many empowerment conferences, TED talks, and blog posts are out there; women keep tearing one another down over physical appearance,” the model and body activist shared. “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.” Or body shaming behavior not only hurts who we’re shaming but it destroys our self-esteem in the process. And as Graham points out, it sets up a nightmare scenario for our daughters, nieces, and all the young girls in the world. “What type of example are we setting … if grown adults are on Instagram calling other women ‘cowards’ for losing weight, or ‘ugly’ for being overweight,” she asked.
We have to stop wasting so much of our time picking each other apart.
Instead of spending our precious moments worrying about what size someone’s jeans are we should trying to solve some of the many problems our society has – homelessness, illiteracy, climate change, etc. – the list is long and feels endless at times. We’ll all feel better when we’re advancing our communities in a positive way.
“We can’t create change until we recognize and check our own actions,” Graham said. “If you see another woman taking a selfie or a photo in her bathing suit, encourage her because she actually feels beautiful, don’t give her the side eye because you think she’s feeling herself too hard. Why waste time and energy spewing negativity?”