Empowerment Isn’t Nudity

Today I was welcomed with an opinion of a female classmate that got me thinking, “Ashley Graham is empowering but does she have to be naked all the time?”

It’s the struggle that most feminist and women come across, the issue of exposing the body to gain power and/or acceptance. We find that some women use conservative approaches to femininity, others a more dominate portrayal, and many are in between.

Ashley Graham is a plus size model who is making a name for herself as a confident model and body activist. Many have critiqued her approach to making a statement too sexual, that she is displaying her body to get attention. Others see her as a woman not afraid to show her body and to step out of the medias comfort zone.

Ashley Graham

Is it appropriate for a body activist to do photoshoot in only a bra and lace thong? Should a model who is changing the way we see size, always have to be wearing a bathing suit? Is she setting women back by displaying power in a seductive way? These are questions we ask ourselves when we see this new wave of plus size models.

We should rejoice that models are becoming all shapes, sizes, and color. Yet, we are finding this “beauty beyond size” movement to be cultivating issue of how the message is being communicated.

Women have been sexualized in the media for centuries! It’s the root reason why public breastfeeding is such an issue; we see breasts as sexual objects rather than producers of food.  Displaying women in sexual ways had caused the female race to be noted as objects rather than beings.

First Plus Size Model on Cover

I know models have been exposing themselves in sexual ways for years but we now have this empowering body movement manifesting itself. Plus size women are creating a conversation with less clothing on. Now, it is empowering to be in your natural form a.k.a. “birthday suit” but is it really necessary for it to be the main tool for sparking change?

I feel that women have the right to use their bodies as power if they are making the choice to, but when it comes down to it, society is forcing them to have to find power in nudity. When it comes to the plus size movement I think that as women of intellect, strength, beauty, and a voice, we should show what a real life body looks in real life situations.

What if Ashley Graham posed as a curvy women getting ready for work? Or Doing an awesome workout? Why can’t we expose girls and women to real life women doing real life things? To me that sends a stronger message then nudity, because change comes for those who demand it, not ask for it.

Photo Credits:Sports Illustrated, Cosmopolitan, & www.mirror.co.uk


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