Proud2Bme | Let This Be Normal, Not Revolutionary: On Ashley Graham’s Music Video Debut

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Let This Be Normal, Not Revolutionary: On Ashley Graham’s Music Video Debut

By Kaitlin Irwin--“Plus-size” model Ashley Graham stars as Joe Jonas’ girlfriend in a new DNCE music video. In the video, we can see Ashley and Joe making out, rolling around in bed, and acting super frisky.

Many people are applauding and praising Ashley for starring in a role that is typically reserved for thinner girls. I agree that it’s great that we’re seeing a wider variety of body types in the media, but I also think it’s unfortunate that this is still something considered radical and rebellious.

My first reaction to this news about Ashley Graham was...who cares? A famous girl and a famous guy are in a famous group’s music video. This isn’t news; it’s sports. Yet, I can understand why people are super excited about it. Ashley Graham represents a woman and a body type that we just aren’t seeing enough of in popular media, and I think it’s great that she’s helping to pave the way for more diversity in that respect. In fact, a lot of people would probably call Ashley and her successful career “body positive.”

The problem with body positivity is that it still focuses on the body. If we’re really going to make a change in the way society views bodies, then we need to do better. It seems that the more people try to support the body positivity movement, the more volatile the movement appears to the public eye. Someone will always be offended or feel body shamed or need to “check their privilege.” It’s getting to the point now where if a person doesn’t lavish themselves with “body love” or attach several identifiers and labels to themselves, then they aren’t considered “body positive.”

Read More: Ashley Graham’s Historic 'Sports Illustrated' Cover Proves Beauty Is Not “One-Size-Fits-All”

I think that Ashley Graham is beautiful, but not because she is “plus-size” and struts around in skimpy swimsuits. If her appearance and role as Joe Jonas’ girlfriend in the music video empowers you, then awesome. I too think that it’s wonderful to see more body diversity in popular culture. The thing is, we don’t need to treat these things as though they are revolutionary. Instead, we need to create a mindset in which these kinds of things are ordinary. Some people will argue that these types of things aren’t normal yet, which is why we need to celebrate them when they do happen. We need to encourage more of it, and I get that.

However, does it really count as a shift in perspective if we are still seeing our bodies as a means of identifying ourselves? It’s not body positivity or bust. The truth is that sometimes bodies are gross and sometimes they’re visually appealing and depending on the circumstances, they can feel good or bad or anything in between. I no longer consider myself “body positive” the way our society now views it. I think I’m just aware that I have a body and that other people have bodies. We’re clumps of cells living and interacting with each other. There’s really no need to feel shame or guilt about our bodies, but we should be kind to them.

The bottom line is that I’m happy society is becoming more accepting of all kinds of body types and that it’s inspiring others. I’m sad that such occurrences are seen as groundbreaking and that a woman like Ashley Graham is first seen as a “plus-size” woman, rather than just a woman. She’s a human being like you and I are. It doesn’t matter if she’s big, small, polka-dotted, whatever. Maybe we should stop labeling and identifying ourselves based on how we look. We should stop focusing on our appearance as humans and focus instead on experiencing life as humans.

About the blogger: Kaitlin Irwin is a recovered anorexic who spent her college years struggling to hide her illness. With lots of support, patience and an Intensive Outpatient Program, she embraced herself, flaws and all. In her free time, she enjoys exercise, cooking and art and can usually be found with a good book, a journal or her fiancé. She hopes to use her love of creative expression to spread positivity and love to others.

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