Ashley Graham posts a photo showing her pregnancy stretch marks

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Can’t wait to meet you🖤

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I’m really appreciating reading stories of women who are celebrating their bodies. The women are also responding to trolls who feel like the best use of their time is to body-shame these women. Monday, I wrote about Porsha Williams, who has been sharing photos of herself a few months after giving birth to her daughter, Pilar Jhena, and weathering criticism from people who tell her that she should keep herself covered up and other garbage.

Ashley Graham is another woman who is proudly celebrating her body. The model had announced last week on Instagram that she was pregnant. On Monday, she shared a nude, strategically covered-up photo in which her stretch marks were visible. (You can see that here.) CNN has more:

Ashley Graham is pregnant and proud of her body — and she’s letting everybody know on Instagram.

The model, who announced her pregnancy last week, posted a nude photo on the platform Monday, in which she displays her stretch marks. “Same same but a little different,” she wrote in the caption.

In the photo, she is covering her breast with her hand and her face is not seen. Instead, the image focuses on her stretch marks and folds of skin across her thigh and waist — all the features you see in a “real body,” one fan wrote.

The comments on the picture were overwhelmingly positive, with fans praising Graham for publicly representing what it’s like to be a plus-sized woman experiencing pregnancy.

“I’m pregnant, hormonal, and going though so many body changes,” one person wrote. “This made me tear up. I really needed this today.”

CNN went on to describe some of the work that Ashley has been doing to promote body positivity:

Graham has been campaigning for years to unravel some of the size-zero beauty standards deeply-ingrained in the fashion industry. In 2015, she gave a TED Talk on her experience modeling, detailing how she hated the label “plus-size model.”

“I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the narrow mold that society wanted me to fit in,” she said in the TED Talk. “And that’s okay. Rolls, curves, cellulite, all of it. I love every part of me.”

[From CNN]

I’m going to watch Ashley’s TED Talk this week. Over the years, people have made comments, some innocent, many not, about my weight, which has been all over the place. No matter how old I get, some of those comments have stung. In one memorable instance, after staying silent as I had in the past, I challenged the person, asking them to clarify what they had said. I expected at least a half-hearted apology, but instead, they insisted that they had said something else and that I’d misheard them (which I had not). I’m glad that Ashley is one more person who is trying to promote positive conversations about bodies. Congratulations to her and her husband, Justin, on their pregnancy news!

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photos credit: Backgrid and via Instagram

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27 Responses to “Ashley Graham posts a photo showing her pregnancy stretch marks”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    So difficult for some women to keep a thinner frame after her babies are born. I too struggled (still do). I even had a family friend at a wedding ask me when I was expecting because I looked puffy “down there”. I just sat there stunned. Healthy eating habits and taking care of one’s self is what is important and because you love yourself enough to know that is what your body needs. Not dieting and exercising because you don’t like what you see. Kudos her for speaking in a positive manner and congrats on the baby.

    • HelloSunshine says:

      Omg I’m so sorry someone said that. I don’t understand why people think that’s okay at all! I’ve also struggled a bit with adjusting to my “new” body after having kids and I have a ton of stretch marks. My husband and I joke the kids try to claw their way out because of how they look on my stomach lol

  2. Erinn says:

    I feel like Graham (just from what I’ve seen at least) walks the walk about body positivity a little more than some other plus sized models that claim to support it. I think it was Hunter McGrady maybe that I stumbled across the instagram page for. And I found some INCREDIBLY edited photos being shared by her. She was blurring the crap out of her body to make it look like her stomach was much more smooth than it actually was – and it bummed me out. She was beautiful, and calling for more love for all bodies… while editing hers into oblivion.

    And I’m not talking about touch ups like removing a few acne spots, or adjusting lighting or whatever else that I would consider ‘normal’ for a photoshoot/model to do – she was changing the shape of her body. And I get it to a degree – when you’re a model there’s an obsession about looking good. But there’s a difference between strategic posing and literally changing the shape of your body – and it does so much harm. We celebrate people like that for daring to be stunningly pretty while being closer to the size of the ‘average’ woman, but it really comes off more that we’re treating them as the exception. Like “oh, you’re the RIGHT kind of ‘average’” and when that involves that substantial level of photoshopping that’s a problem – even when you’re supporting the body positive movement.

    • OriginalLala says:

      i used to follow Hunter but unfollowed because of exactly this – I am also fed up with seeing nothing but ridiculously edited photos on Instagram, it’s gotten to the point where everyone looks like a cartoon lol

      • Erinn says:

        What’s funny is that after posting this, I googled a bit and found an instagram that she had posted a while back discussing facetune. Basically saying “wow – some people change how they look completely! I just remove acne, or little things like that!” which is kind of equal parts hilarious and sad.

        I was originally like “WOW! What a pretty woman I like her style, I think I’ll follow her” and then I saw how much she messed with the photos and realized that she’s a HUGE part of the problem.

        Nobody should give someone a hard time for removing the odd acne mark, or posing in a way that’s much more flattering even if it’s not a perfectly accurate representation. But when you’re literally changing the shape of your body and presenting yourself as a force of positive change and ragging on others for heavily editing photos that’s a HUGE issue.

  3. Naomipaige99 says:

    As long as her husband finds that beautiful that is all that matters.

    • Anatha A. says:

      As long as SHE is okay with herself, that’s all that matters.

    • CharliePenn says:

      A woman’s body does not exist to please a male gaze.

    • naomipaige99 says:

      Thank you I understand my mistake. My bad!

      • CharliePenn says:

        Naomi, so cool that you acknowledge that you learned something, we need more of that in this world!
        And I used to think the same way… especially after I was mistreated by an ex for being heavy, then adored at any size by my current partner who is now my husband. I thought “as long as he loves my body it’s all good”.
        But I was wrong. It took me several more years to start the journey of knowing my body exists for me, belongs to me, and needs the approval of ME before anyone. And now I’m more confident and content than I’ve ever been.
        But having a partner love my body even at its heaviest, and love my body even when it has major health and physical problems, was definitely healing and helped me see the path to true body acceptance.

        We are all on different stages of a journey with our own unique bodies. So good for you Naomi in expressing your thoughts and then taking feedback well. I wish for you to love your body always, too!

    • manda says:

      As long as he finds “THAT” beautiful? What a horrendous thing to say.

      I’d also like to point out that I am considered thin, but I also have those stretch marks and my body gets all foldy in on itself when I twist into a similar pose too. I wish I had a body as beautiful as Ashley’s

      • Frida_K says:

        @manda: How do you know that the OP’s original language is English? I often translate things from Spanish in my mind and don’t notice that it is slightly awkward in English. The “that” here makes fine sense in Spanish.

        Also, did you miss the part where they acknowledged others’ feedback with politeness?

        If you are this angry about the post maybe you could look at yourself first and ask yourself why. There are many comments which could inspire anger but this one is innocent, I think.

    • Anilehcim says:

      Ew @ this comment. Sorry that you have apparently missed the point of Ashley’s post.

  4. Esmom says:

    She’s so beautiful. And I always like hearing what she has to say. Although I have to say the photo in the leather jacket doesn’t do her justice at all.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      Agree about that photo but I scrolled through them,and the ones of her in the black turtleneck and leather skirt??thing are beautiful.IMO she is one who really looks best with minimal makeup and simple styling.Lovely woman.

  5. Spicecake38 says:

    She’s really beautiful,congratulations to Ashley and her husband!
    My weight has been all over since my youth,due to Crohn’s disease and the weight fluctuations that come with it and some of the meds I take.Some people will bluntly declare that I’ve gained A LOT of weight!Wow,thanks for pointing that out.Or it’s the other ,OH MY you’re TOO THIN,are you sick,and ironically the people commenting are not in great physical shape.Why people feel it’s ever okay to comment so bluntly on another persons weight/body is beyond me,and has messed with my head for decades.And like Quimby says-if you ask them to explain what they said-you *misunderstood*
    Good for Ashley she should be proud,she’s making a human.

    • MD says:

      Sympathy. I weigh less now that I have most of my adult life because of Crohn’s disease. I am getting comments from family and friends about how “great” I look, which is frustrating. I think I looked fine before, and the only reason I look “great” now is because I have a disease.

      • Spicecake38 says:

        Yeah,I look “great “too when I’m flared so much so that numerous friends have said how they wish they could have my disease 🙄Wishing you good health.

      • CharliePenn says:

        I feel you on this! My body often looks “better” when I’m dealing with a health problem that flares up in my life. It’s hard to get positive feedback for that, and then negative feedback when my body is healthier again but some weight returns.
        I have learned to calmly say “my body is not up for discussion, thank you”. With a smile.
        So many people think they are being kind, but at the end of the day you should never comment on one’s body unless that person has brought the subject to you and asked for feedback (which is a relatively rare occurrence!)
        Maybe the only exception, and maybe I’m wrong about this one, is to comment on someone’s obviously improved fitness. Like if a male friend has been pumping iron and it shows in his arms, or for example a female friend of mine had been “building” her butt in a booty yoga class and I did tell her that I thought her butt looked great, the hard work was paying off toward her goal of having a big firm butt.
        But even with that stuff… tread lightly! You never know why someone has dropped or gained weight and it’s very personal.

    • MD says:

      Thanks, spicecake38. I hear you! Wishing you good health as well. And agreed, Charlie Penn. If a friend is actively trying to change their body in a particular way, I can understand commenting. Otherwise, people should keep quiet.

  6. Marigold says:

    “Instead, the image focuses on her stretch marks and folds of skin across her thigh and waist — all the features you see in a “real body,” one fan wrote.”

    Meh. Body positivity is great. This comment is not.

    • Notsoanonymous says:

      There is definitely a subset of people who make the real women comments, but in this case I think it has less to do with her size and more to do with the fact that her stretch marks were the focus and not blurred out like they are in so many IG photos that people post.

  7. Dina says:

    I feel you, Quimby. I’m usually fairly slenderish but my weight has fluctuated a lot recently ( off since June with a broken foot and eating my feelings). I’ve been feeling crappy and self-conscious, so it’s nice to have these celebs talking about loving your body as is… It sucks that we all get so wrapped up in our physical appearance.. but I can’t help it! Ughh

    • Quimby says:

      Dina, I’m so sorry to hear about your foot! I hope it heals quickly! (I, too, have been “eating my feelings” lately, so I’m right there with you.) I agree– it sucks that we sometimes worry too much about our physical appearance. Maybe more conversations like Ashley’s will make it easier to let go of that.

  8. Anilehcim says:

    Hope that this helps normalize stretch marks. A huge majority of women believe that stretch marks “ruin” their bodies and it’s such an awful mindset. When I got mine during puberty/a prepubescent weight gain, I remember literally thinking my body was destroyed. This kind of visibility matters, especially in our photoshopped artificial Kardashian-obsessed world.

  9. Cleo17 says:

    My mom was raised with some pretty wretched ideas about body image which she passed on to me. I know she didn’t mean to, but that’s one area in a woman’s development where their mother’s attitude really shapes and affects them in a disproportionate manner.

    I try to never comment on my weight in front of my 3-year-old daughter, and I’m trying to quit even when she’s not around because that kind of negative attitude is going to bleed through in ways I don’t realize. My daughter told me the other day how big I was which almost made me cry until blissfully unaware, she kept going & told me what big strong muscles I had and how strong I was. Something I always try to convey to her is that she’s growing and getting bigger and gaining weight and it’s because her body is getting big and strong. Her comment to me made me feel like I was doing a good job. It made me tear up a little wondering how many years of disordered eating and negative body image that I could’ve not gone through if my mom had done the same with me. I was never overweight until my 30s, and yet I can remember wearing baggy baggy clothes since the age of 12.

    One of the most ridiculous things that ever happened to me made me realize how incredibly messed up our culture is about weight. I developed complications from my cancer treatment and ended up throwing up for three weeks straight and lost 27 pounds in seven weeks. I looked like hell. All sallow and exhausted and miserable. And when I went to the farmers market as soon as I could stagger upright again, all my friends & acquaintances told me how fantastic I looked. I didn’t look fantastic. I looked horrible. Except I was skinnier. My husband has always known the bullshit women go through as far as weight goes, but it was really driven home to him that day. He was just appalled.