Ashley Graham’s Message Is Confusing

Ashley Graham appears to be America’s only commercially successful overweight model, meaning she either singlehandedly represents about eighty million American women, or there’s just not a huge market for fat models or slow athletes.

If you could describe Graham’s general attitude in one word, it would be confidence. She’s really fucking confident. In fact, she will not hesitate to tell you how highly she thinks of herself. Even if you didn’t ask. It appears that she considers her confidence to be one of her major areas of talent. She is confident because she is confident. That and being a bit overweight. She recently posted a picture to Instagram of the cellulite on her thigh, making it known that she was not ashamed of it:

“I workout. I do my best to eat well. I love the skin I’m in. And I’m not ashamed of a few lumps, bumps or cellulite.. and you shouldn’t be either. #beautybeyondsize #lovetheskinyourein.”

You shouldn’t be ashamed of a little cellulite, as most every woman has some of it. That being said, it’s not an especially desirable trait. It’s not like the more cellulite you have the cooler you are. If anything you’d think you would not want to draw a lot of attention to it. This is why most of the photos on Ashley Graham’s Instagram page are airbrushed or shot in muted light. Cellulite pics don’t sell a ton of magazines. Not even fetish magazines. And they never will, regardless of what Ashley Graham says.

Pimples are a natural occurrence, nothing to be ashamed of, but you rarely see someone posting their whitehead pics to Instagram in the name of inspiration. Eczema is common, but we don’t need to see photos of your rash. Erectile dysfunction is a prevalent medical condition, yet Geraldo is not posting photos of his flaccid penis to Twitter, as of yet.

But, for some reason being overweight or obese, together the second biggest cause of preventable death in America, qualifies you as a bonafide rock star? If a thin woman posted a photo of herself along with an ode to how much she loved her smooth cellulite free buns she’d probably rightfully be considered a vapid bitch. Graham appears to be enjoying a double standard, but her message isn’t just self-absorbed, it’s verging on irresponsible. There’s a difference between encouraging self acceptance and advocating being unhealthy. She appears to be drifting toward the latter:

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or 22, you can be healthy as long as you’re taking care of your body, working out, and telling yourself ‘I love you’ instead of taking in the negativity of beauty standards.”

Are you fucking insane? If you’re a size 22 you are subjecting yourself to a host of medical conditions. So it actually does matter. It would be incredibly rare to stay healthy for a prolonged period of time at a size 22. You would be risking your life to not immediately lose weight. This is not much different than telling an alcoholic to keep downing handles of Jack, society’s view on liver failure be damned. Loving yourself has absolutely nothing to do with it. This is a matter of statistics, glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, resting heart rate.

Graham’s philosophy epitomizes the snowflake generation’s collective ingrained belief that every single one of them is the most amazing person to have ever walked the earth, encapsulated perfectly with this gem:

“There is no such thing as perfection, so stop striving for it.”

That’s an awful message. For someone who seems to fancy themselves as inspiring this is an odd thing to say because it’s the exact opposite of motivation. Sure, polish off that second stuffed crust pizza Chelsea, there’s no such thing as perfection. The doctor says you’re pre diabetic? Shit, nobody’s perfect. You do you. I think I’ll wear my gravy stained pants into work today, I’m sick of the grind.

You’re lowering the standards of society. Not coincidentally the people advocating for lowering standards would benefit the most from lower standards. Nobody’s perfect, but some people are a lot closer to perfect than others. For example, if a man or woman were to gain 300 pounds and continue treating people the same way, they would have been closer to perfect before they were fat. This is assuming the being healthy somehow factors into overall wellbeing. Mind body and spirit. That whole thing. However you define perfect, the guy being removed from his apartment by fork lift is not perfect, and being proud of being overweight doesn’t negate the fact that you’re damaging yourself.

Ashley Graham may have stopped trying, who knows. She might just be a total narcissist whose mother gave her too many participation ribbons and who decided being heavier than her friends was a significant life achievement. She might just be some rambling dumbass without the mental capacity to deliver a consistent message through Instagram or properly rip off Tony Robbins.

Regardless, she’s annoying as shit, and for that reason she’s coming in on the bottom quartile in terms of human perfection, and while it doesn’t necessarily hurt, the cellulite definitely does not help either.

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Matt Ralston is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewRalston

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