Let's be Happy With Who We Are
Kudos to Ashley Graham
For those who don't know, Ashley Graham is the first model classed as "plus size" to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated and what has she received for her troubles?
Yep - a whole lot of body shaming. She's handled it with a great deal of grace as the cameras and news agencies have focused on her and her responses, which has got to be hard to do. She has done a whole lot better than many of us who are not in the public eye might have done.
Graham has pointed out that if she's posted very flattering pictures of herself online where she appears to have lost weight, people accuse her of having sold out and lost weight. Conversely, if there is cellulite seen in one of her pictures, people complain that she's promoting obesity.
How about this?
Ashley Graham is saying, "Hey, I look wonderful. I'm going to bask in that like everyone else and post that to my Instagram."
We all like to celebrate those moments where we look and feel great. Why should Ashley Graham be immune to that? It's a very human - maybe specifically womanly - reaction. Since the advent of social media, individuals have posted selfies and other images of themselves in a variety of poses and looks for the world to see.
Sure, Graham is currently one of the hottest commodities in the modeling world, but that doesn't mean that she's any less wanting to use social media to show people that she's looking - and feeling - good.
She should have the right to put that out there, in the same way that everyone else does.
She's a stunner, for sure...let's celebrate that!
What do we say to our kids?
One of the recurrent beliefs we try to instil in our kids is that people will like them regardless of what they look like. Body image is something that everyone struggles with at some point in their lives, and we want to ensure that our kids feel good about themselves and how they look.
Unfortunately, though, we still live in a society where good looking people still have an advantage over everyone else who may not be considered attractive. Tell someone they have a nice personality and we continue to wince, reminded of every stereotype where someone was told that "they have a great personality, but..."
That's a tough message to fight against, and kids know how tough it is. If they're not fitting into what everyone else looks like in some way or another, they are teased or somehow made to stand out in a negative way, regardless of what their personality might be like - at least this is what it might seem like to them.
On the flip side, there are people who are harassed because they are deemed to be too "heavy" while people who are naturally thin are also slammed because they look too much the other way. All of a sudden, they are being told that they should eat more...work out more to build muscle...just be more.
How fair is that? People who are too thin are slammed for being that way, and then heavier set people are slammed for being overly curvy or heavier than what some perceive to be "the norm." Small wonder kids are concerned, at younger and younger ages, about being overweight when they're really not.