(Image by Lauren Tamaki // Original source: lennyletter.com)
This article posted on Lenny by model & body activist Ashley Graham a couple days ago really got to me. There's a lot of talk out there about body positivity, body shaming, the term plus-size, #effyourbeautystandards, etc... the list goes on and on. And to be honest, sometimes I feel like what's being written seems to just make the situation worse. This letter really struck a chord with me because I believe it really gets at the core issue of the current body positivity movement - there's not enough positivity happening. If you haven't already read this article, you definitely should. And if you only have 30 seconds to spare, I've copied a few of my favourite parts of the letter below.
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"To some I'm too curvy. To others I'm too tall, too busty, too loud, and, now, too small — too much, but at the same time not enough. 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.
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No matter how many empowerment conferences, TED talks, and blog posts are out there, women keep tearing one another down over physical appearance. 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?
I am more than my measurements. I'm not Ashley Graham just because I'm curvy. For the past sixteen years, my body has been picked apart, manipulated, and controlled by others who don't understand it. But now my career has given me a platform to use my voice to make a difference. We can't create change until we recognize and check our own actions. 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."