Ashley Graham gave one of her followers on Instagram a bumpy ride on Tuesday after she slammed him for assuming that her body fat was a “baby bump.”
The model had posted a video on Instagram of her grooving to N.E.R.D and Rihanna’s ‘Lemons’ in a pink bikini when a follower commented: “Good Morning… Ashley!!!!$ Looking good… Baby bump…. :))))).” Ashley shut the follower instantly when she spat out, “That’s just called fat.”
Several fans soon came to her defence and asserted that Ashley was the inspiration for many people who have suffered body shaming. A fan commented: “You are one of the few women if not the main woman that helped put thick girls on the map…I was picked on by friends back in school for liking thick girls (they would say like she fat bro). I didn’t care what they said that’s all I ever dated. I just want thank you for helping it become accepted..now them dudes that use to clown on other guys like me ➡️wishing they had something actually to hold on to at night. ???? [sic].”
This isn’t the first time that Ashley has hit back at a follower for shaming her for her body. In October last year, she was criticized for posting a video of her workout session. The post which she captioned with the hashtag #curvyfit received several troll comments for her being a plus-size model. However, Ashley later issued a PSA stating that exercises do not necessarily have to be about losing weight.
In the announcement, she wrote: “EVERY TIME after I post a workout video I get comments like ‘you’ll never be skinny, so stop trying,’ ‘don’t work out too hard, you’ll get skinny,’ ‘you need your fat to be a model,’ and ‘why would you want to lose what made you famous?’…For the record — I workout to: stay healthy, feel good, get rid of jet lag, clear my head, show big girls we can move like the rest of ’em, stay flexible and strong, have more energy. I don’t work out to lose weight or my curves, because I love the skin I’m in.”
Body shaming has been a major cause of depression for women, especially among adolescents who usually have a negative image about their body. Ashley, who has been extremely vocal about body positivity, wrote in an essay on Lenny Letter claiming that while online media can be a big way to boost one’s confidence, at the same time, online trolling can crumble a person’s self-esteem to dust.
She cited an instant where she had posted a picture while filming for ‘America’s Next Top Model’ which immediately got viral in the context that most followers thought she was trying to be skinnier in order to look prettier. She revealed: “When I post a photo from a “good angle,” I receive criticism for looking smaller and selling out. When I post photos showing my cellulite, stretch marks, and rolls, I’m accused of promoting obesity. The cycle of body-shaming needs to end. I’m over it.”
She has made several videos as a curvy fit model; however, even that led to several criticisms as followers claimed that she would never get thin no matter how hard she tried. In the essay, Ashley mentioned that in spite of all the awareness people continue to body shame each other: “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.”
In 2016, the body positive icon was featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue where she attempted to send out the message that beauty cannot be defined by size. As part of the historic three-part cover, Ashley states, “It’s time to finally have a variety of beauty because there’s not just one standard.” Ashley, following the same rule, believes that there are no standards when it comes to picking up a swimsuit. She also slammed down the false stereotypes involving the kind of swimsuits that a woman with curves should preferably wear. She mentioned: “The myth is, the bigger the bikini, the smaller looking the body…But I’m a fan of the smaller the bikini, the better. I’m a very curvy woman, and I think if you put a big bikini on me, it cuts in the wrong places.”
In a video premiered on PEN: People/Entertainment Weekly Network, MJ Day, the editor of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue supported Ashley’s take on swimsuit saying, “Just because you have curves, it doesn’t mean you want a bigger suit. It just means you want something that hugs everything in the right way.” Ashley Graham has always been scathing towards any kind of nonsensical trolling which could have put her confidence down. She instead chooses to stand up each time against such trolling and believes in her own words: “Beauty is not one size fits all.”