Ashley Graham Is Not a Plus Size Hero. Here's Why
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Ashley Graham Is Not a Plus Size Hero. Here's Why

Apparently body positivity is only okay if you have the correct body.

Ashley Graham Is Not a Plus Size Hero. Here's Why

(Disclaimer: I am a cis Hetero male and this article reflects my opinions on the state of women, therefore I apologize in advance for any sexist language that may occur within this article)

In the last couple of months, people all over Internet have been raving over a new critically acclaimed super model. She came to stardom for appearing on a Sports Illustrated cover. The objectification of a woman in a swimsuit on a Sports Illustrated magazine cover by a mostly male audience isn't anything new, however, there was a key difference with this particular model. This was the first ever "plus size" model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and her name is Ashley Graham.

This is no small feat and was something to not take lightly for Graham clocks in at a size 16, and is absolutely stunning. Women across the Internet rejoiced when they saw her being featured on this magazine as the cover girl. Finally someone who wasn't a size four. Finally someone who was different. Finally someone who was a representation of plus size. Ashley Graham has become a sort of figurehead since her rise to popularity and just recently was even featured in a Joe Jonas music video, (talk about breaking barriers!) seemingly breaking the conventions of a music video girl along with the conventions of being a cover girl. Ashley Graham seems to be a plus size hero. But is she really? You already know that my answer is "absolutely not."

Ashley Graham is not plus sized. At all. In the modeling world, anything above a size six is considered plus size, so in that sense yes, she is, however if that is the criteria for being plus then almost every human being is plus size. The definition of "plus size" is antiquated and therefore our new definition of plus size is not the way modeling agencies portray. Ashley Graham has a big bust, big hips, and a little bit of fat plain a simple and is not a greater representation of women. She has sex appeal, and is nothing we could not see in any contemporary rap music video.

The fame of Graham represents a larger problem though, and that is the institution of modeling itself. The modeling industry has given us someone who is "plus size" to placate our feminists desires for greater representation. The body positive movement is in full swing and this is the industry's answer. This is not what we want though. Where is her double chin? Where are her stretch marks. Where is the fat hanging off of her body? Where is anything that would make this woman have any noticeable qualities of the everyday woman more especially the everyday plus size woman.

Graham being lauded as a plus size hero, I believe, is detrimental to the body positive and plus size movement more than anything. It is bad enough there was stratification of women within the modeling world but now there is further stratification within the plus size/fat community as well. We now have a model for plus size and just like our previous models who were ultra thin and did not look like the average woman, this model does not represent the average woman. The message is clear. If you do not have the features of our plus size hero, then you are not the right kind of the plus size. No one is saying "Ugh Ashley Graham is fat and unattractive. I would never be attracted to big boobs and a big butt. That's gross." That is not happening at all, however that is what actual plus size people face routinely. Until I see a model that is actually plus sized, that is fat, I reject the industry's attempt to placate my demand for greater representation.

I am in no way trying to bash Graham or her accomplishments. I think it's great she has achieved the success she sought out for, but let us not kid ourselves into thinking that Graham is the hero we need for better representation of women. A statement that I believe holds the most truth is that "Ashley Graham is no different than Marilyn Monroe." At the end of the day she is in a industry that banks on the insecurities of women and the pleasure of heterosexual men.

Here are all the gorgeous, brilliant, and amazing Instagram models that show me what plus size actually is:









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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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