'You're pretty for a big girl'
The title of today's post comes from Ashley Graham. Words she used in her TEDTalk. These words resonated loudly within me. These are words I have heard myself. Words I have personally hated hearing. It's not a compliment. I'm pretty. Not for a big girl. I am pretty for the woman I am.
Today's blog has been inspired by Ashley Graham and Khrystyana Kazakova. Both these women are inspirational to me. And they represent the woman I am.
There are a lot of people that claim to be body positive and what not but after bing watching this current season of America's Next Top Model (even though I'm a second year student who's coming into their exam season lmao), it is clear that Ashley and Khrystyana are true activists.
They represent women that are bigger than your 'average' looking woman that is featured in the media a lot. The truth is that many woman look like Ashley and Khrystyana. I look like them. Not everyone looks like a size 6/8 woman who is modelling many of the clothes we see online. No don't get me wrong, we definitely need to see these models - they represent the women who are those sizes. We just need to see more representation and more positive media presence on women who are bigger than a UK size 6/8. We need to see women who have a pouch on their stomach, you know, that gut really exists, there's nothing wrong in seeing it!
It's amazing that we see women with cellulite - but women have more than this. Some woman have a bigger top half and a skinnier bottom half, and vice versa. Some women are size 16 but aren't as curve-defined as we see the women in PrettyLittleThing's shape line.
Not every bigger woman has big boobs and a big bum. That's not every woman's story.
And everyone woman's story will not be the same and you might not find a woman who has the exact same body as someone else, but the representation is key. When I'm shopping online for dresses, I'm a size 14 so I don't fall into the plus size section, but sometimes I feel like I should be looking at that section because the women in the main section just aren't representing my body type. The women I'm seeing in the pictures are skinny, have a flat stomach and look completely different from me.
I have back fat. I have a stomach. I have big thighs. Some things look bad on me, some types of clothing just aren't for my body, but it's kinda hard to tell sometimes cos I'm looking at a model who looks nothing like me and trying to think how it would look at me. Most of the time I can't picture it so I'm basically blind shopping.
In Ashley Graham's TEDTalk she spoke about My Size instead of Plus Size and I totally agree with her on this topic. I think the plus size can sometimes be seen as negative. I remember putting on weight and thinking to myself 'well at least I'm not in the plus size section', but really and truly there's nothing wrong with that section. A lot of pressure is put on women when they're shopping. Why should you have to go to a completely different section because you're a bigger size? To be labelled and to feel like an outsider is not a fun experience when shopping. And so many places in the UK differ when it comes to plus size. Some retailers it starts at size 14 whereas some retailers start it at size 20. If there's no actual set definition for plus size in the UK then why do we. have it? I think it should be scrapped. It is not body positive at all. It makes women feel uncomfortable in their body and that's wrong.
The reason why I mentioned Khrystyana in this blog, and why she inspired this blog, was because she is an amazing activist. She is constantly posting things on instagram that remind me there is nothing wrong with my body and she always reminds me to love myself, even when the media doesn't love my body type or anything else about me. I would love to meet both Khrystyana and Ashley just to have a chat with them and let them know just how inspirational they are. Self love is so important to me, and although I love myself and my body and everything else that I am, there are some days where I will doubt myself. I still have my insecurities. But day after day, Khrystyana and Ashley remind me to accept these insecurities and love me for me.
No one is going to love more than myself, I love that. I love me.
I am grateful that I am represented in the media. I am represented by Ashley Graham and Khrystyana Kazakova and mainly other women like Sophia Tassew and Erika Lipps.
This blog is not just for big women, this blog is for every woman out there. Every gender, disability, race, sexuality, religion and everything else should be represented in the media. If you're not represented never feel like you're not pretty enough because you don't fit into conventional beauty standards. You are beautiful, regardless.
America's Next Top Model has been super representative so thank you to Tyra Banks and the rest of the ANTM team!
From one woman to another, you are beautiful. Have a good day.
- Nell xo
Link to Ashley Graham's TEDTalk - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAgawjzimjc