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Ashley Graham Doesn't Want to Be Your Role Model (She Wants You to Be Your Own)

June 04, 2015 2 min read

Curvy model Ashley Graham has been everywhere lately, from giving  TEDx talks to gracing the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. She's breaking barriers and modelling taboos, advocating for women everywhere, and doing it while being -- gasp!-- the size of the average American woman. Here are a couple of quotes from Ashley's TEDx Talk on body image and the modelling industry. "As a curvy woman, it was the assumption that I should look up to Marilyn Monroe or Jennifer Lopez, mainly because they were two of the most notable curvy women in the public eye that were being praised for their curves. But these weren't my role models. In reality, the woman I looked up to the most was my mother. She told me I was beautiful and she never devalued herself, so why would I? She told me and taught me that true beauty comes from within and that validation and self worth must also come from within." "Curvy models are becoming more and more vocal about the isolating nature of the term plus size. We are calling ourselves what we want to be called: women, with shapes that are our own." Perhaps the most important quote from the film was this one: "This is the generation of body diversity. The current is changing." That being said, diversity is the key. Whether it's to include women who are curvier than average or leaner. Or struggling with the loss of a limb. My son's girlfriend is naturally very thin. She feels secure in her healthy, athletic body, but is frustrated by constant shaming online by curvier friends who post memes proclaiming their size as womanly and demeaning her size as childlike or ill. It should never requiring shaming other women to celebrate our own beauty. We should never allow an industry to divide us based on the categories they designate. Ashley Graham is a spokeswoman for all women, not just curvy girls or models or the beautiful. However, she uses that platform to remind us she can never do a better job of speaking for us than we can. That's why she's a hero, whether she wants to be or not. What are your thoughts?        

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