In news no one will find shocking Ashley Graham has said something problematic.
In a recent interview with People.com she is quoted as saying “There are some days I feel fat.”
Let me stop you there.
This kind of language is problematic for a number of reason, most notably that she’s framing this is a negative way. Framing fatness to equate to something negative is damaging and enforcing the narrative that fatness is bad. For someone who has happily ridden on the body positivity train to get where she is now this is NOT a body positive attitude. Plenty of people have been more than happy to sniff at me on Twitter: “but every body is a good body!” YES EXACTLY SO WHY IS SHE ASSOCIATING FATNESS WITH SOMETHING BAD THEN?
Her sickly platitudes about loving yourself as you are and then saying things like this merely reinforces my opinion that she isn’t body positive, or rather she perfectly represents the mess that body positivity has become now.
Throwing fat bodies under the bus is a huge problem in this movement, and a reason why I no longer associate with it.
So many people are quick to jump to her defence talking about how she’s helped them. That’s great, I’m glad you’re on your way to hopefully having a more loving and peaceful relationship with your body. But consider the fact that she’s only benefiting you. She’s not helping me, she’s not helping fat people who are the most marginalised by body policing. Calling Ashley Graham out for this is not for a second suggesting that thin people shouldn’t benefit from the BP movement, these issues affect all body types. But what it is doing is holding people accountable for continue to marginalise certain body types by associating them with negatively.
Put this way, Ashley may ‘sometimes’ feel fat; I AM fat. Every day. I can’t escape it, I can’t have fat days and none-fat days, and with that I can’t escape the abuse and oppression my body type suffers.
Not all of us wake up and hate our fat bodies. Stop using fatness as shorthand for your personal shortcomings.