Beauty barriers continue to be broken by plus-size model

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Beauty barriers continue to be broken by plus-size model

Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham

IMAGE / Allank Slank / flickr

Ashley Graham

IMAGE / Allank Slank / flickr

IMAGE / Allank Slank / flickr

Ashley Graham

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Beauty has been defined by social media through magazines, movies, and television. A cruel reality that puts a weight limit on being beautiful.

These beauty barriers are being broken and changed more and more, giving inspiration to young girls.

One of these said inspirations is Ashley Graham, a 28-year-old, “plus-size” model whose career and impact on women nationwide has skyrocketed since she made her debut in Sports Illustrated almost a year ago in February 2016.

Last year, Graham posted a picture of herself in a swimsuit with a caption thanking Sports Illustrated and encouraging people to continue breaking down body-image barriers.

“Thank you to everyone who stood up for curves — our voices were heard,” Graham said via Instagram. She also included a hashtag, “#beautybeyondsize.”

This quote and many more like it continue to motivate girls to love themselves for who they are, not for who they think they should look like.

Graham’s campaign has influenced people around the world. Showing that they don’t have to be labeled by something as shallow as body size.

Graham has been in the industry for 15 years and has a huge fan base that is consistently growing. As she gains more confidence and continues to lead a more positive lifestyle, she inspires others to do the same.

Pullquote Photo

No, she isn’t the biggest model they could have chosen, but she is a start and she’s going to inspire many other women to fight society’s ideals and to love themselves whether or not they are plus-sized.”

— Audri Counelis, sophomore

Sophomore Audri Counelis said that Graham is a great role model to her and many other women who may struggle with loving themselves and the way they look.

“She is showing that you don’t need to be perfectly skinny to be accepted or to fit into society’s standards of beautiful,” Counelis said. “She is helping to expand the idea that all bodies are beautiful. No, she isn’t the biggest model they could have chosen, but she is a start, and she’s going to inspire many other women to fight society’s ideals and to love themselves whether or not they are plus-sized.”

The world is surrounded by society’s standards. Ideal body types are constantly being thrust upon young girls, causing them to often find themselves not meeting this unreal standard.

Being able to look at a magazine featuring a plus-size model even a year after it was released shows girls that they can be just as gorgeous and successful as any other model in the industry. It’s not just the thin girls that are seen all the time.

Perfection doesn’t have to be found in identical copies of others. It’s empowering, inspiring, and makes girls smile at their reflections, instead of frowning at their flaws.

Weight is not a defining trait, and as Graham’s campaign shows, is not a restriction of femininity.

Sophomore Aleks Bard said it’s great that plus-size models are breaking down beauty barriers.

“I think having a plus-size model is good for young girls that aren’t skinny, just as much as I think having a male model for CoverGirl is good for showing that anyone can do makeup,” Bard said. “Younger girls always look up to women in television shows, movies, and magazines, and when they see that the women are all super thin, commonly posing as a size zero, or have bones sticking out, they start to think that that’s what they have to look like.”

Bard said size doesn’t define who girls are. The number on a scale doesn’t measure their beauty.

“When girls see a plus size model, I hope that they realize that being beautiful doesn’t exactly mean being skinny,” Bard said.

Th featured image from this story is from flickr.

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