Ashley Graham’s Essay For Lenny Exposes A Different Side Of Body Shaming

The topic of body shaming has been a hot one in 2016, and as much as the Internet is part of the problem, it’s also been a great platform for people to tell their stories, fight for body positivity and form a community around acceptance and love of all sizes. Adding thoughtful insight into the conversation is model Ashley Graham, who penned an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny letter on the complexities of body shaming. Ashley, who is regarded as a voice for the curvy community (she’s a size 14), exposes the double-sided nature of the beast in her piece entitled “Shamed If I Do, Shamed If I Don’t.”

In the article, Ashley shares some choice comments posted to social media in response to a photo where she appears ostensibly thinner—an illusion of angles, she says—in which she’s accused of being a “fake fat person” and “full of shit,” among other things. This commentary brings to light the tendency of wanting to put people in a box, and passing quick judgement—especially behind the veil of an online username—on outward appearances. Fed up with the negativity, Ashley writes:

“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.”

The essay is a must-read for women and men alike, as it offers thoughtful perspective on how women’s bodies are perceived and critiqued in the age of the Internet, and reminds us of a very important thing to keep top-of-mind always: to treat people as “more than [their] measurements.” Click here for the full article on Lenny.