Don't Call Ashley Graham "Brave" for Wearing a Swimsuit

Victoria Hoff

There have been several instances over the past several months where I've opened my Instagram to an uncannily relevant post from Ashley Graham—it's almost as if the app's algorithm times them to when I'm feeling my most vulnerable. The more logical explanation, of course, is that the supermodel has a keen awareness of what body acceptance actually means, offering much-needed clarity in a confusing and chaotic landscape of societal double standards, body-positive hashtags, and a lot of ideas on how we should and shouldn't feel about ourselves.

Consider an image Graham posted this weekend, in which she swiftly dresses down an overwrought (and frankly awful) media trope in just one sentence. It coincidentally landed on my feed after a long and emotionally exhausting day of shopping for swimsuits for an upcoming vacation, because even in the post-recovery stage of my eating disorder, trying on a series of flimsy lycra bikinis in unflattering lighting has a way of bubbling toxic thoughts back to the surface. (Shocking, I know.)

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