Ashley Graham is many things: a model, designer, body-image activist, and more. But right now, she's also fed up. After receiving a tidal wave of scrutiny for a recent Instagram photo that appeared to show her looking skinnier, the plus-size fashion icon has decided she's had enough of body shaming. Hoping to raise awareness on issues of body image, Graham, 28, voiced her frustrations about the feeling of entitlement people have about her body in an essay titled "Shamed If I Do, Shamed If I Don't" for Tuesday's issue of Lena Dunham's email newsletter, Lenny Letter.
It all started when Graham posted a particularly flattering photo of herself taken while filming the upcoming season of America's Next Top Model (below). "It was one of those photos where you look and say to yourself, 'YESSSS, HONEY! I look damn good!'" she writes. "I didn't give it a second thought when I posted it, but soon the image went viral. Not because of how good I looked wearing a high-end designer that doesn't usually market to women my size, but because of people's misguided views on women's bodies and who owns the rights to them."
The comments began rolling in immediately. "Fake fat person," one person wrote, while another warned, "Don't you dare get skinny on us."
VIDEO: Ashley Graham's Sizzling Swimsuit Line
The reality, Graham writes, is that she hasn't lost a pound this year. "In fact, I'm actually heavier than I was three years ago, but I accept my body as it is today," she adds. "I work out not to lose weight but to maintain my good health. And anyway, if I did want to lose weight, it would be no one's decision but my own."
"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," she went on to say. "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."
"I am more than my measurements. I'm not Ashley Graham just because I'm curvy," Graham continued. "Let's worry about our own bodies. My body is MY body. I'll call the shots."
Head to lennyletter.com to read Graham's full essay. We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Ashley. Work it!