I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Mull it Over Monday: Ashley Graham: DNCE Video *Yawn*


Last week the band DNCE released a new video for the song “Toothbrush” featuring singer Joe Jonas and plus size model Ashley Graham playing a couple.

Jonas said, “We’re doing cool stuff in bed. We had the beautiful Ashley Graham in the video. We just got to make out and roll around on each other all day,” he told E! News “It was a man’s dream come true.”

Graham – famous for her curvy figure – was handpicked by Jonas to star in the video and largely appears in underwear and a t-shirt, in bed with Jonas.

Taking to Facebook, one fan wrote: “Thank you so much for putting Ashley Graham in the video and representing curvy women all over the world.”

Joe Jonas and Ashley Graham in the video clip for DNCE's hit, Toothbrush
Joe Jonas and Ashley Graham in the video clip for DNCE’s hit, Toothbrush

Fans said:
“Honestly this video made me so happy, thank you Joe Jonas for having Ashley Graham play your love interest. It’s not just showing that not every girl in the music videos has to be thin and have big boobs and butt, it shows a normal, curvy girl.”

While another added: “Thanks you so much for showcasing beauty at all levels, for all shapes and sizes. Mainstream media has taught me to feel ugly and unhealthy, leading to very low self esteem for most of my life. You are helping young girls everywhere by changing the message.”

In an interview with Billboard, Graham said the comments were inspiring, and “reminds me why I work so hard to challenge conventional beauty standards”.

“So often we see the typical ‘video girl’, who’s definitely not a size 14 or 16. It doesn’t accurately portray what our world looks like, especially because the average-size woman is a size 14. It’s really important that all industries celebrate diversity, especially diverse body types,” she said.

And here is where I start to have a problem with all of this. Ashley Graham was recently on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In an interview about that cover she said she hated the term plus size, deemed it outdated, because she hates labels, while also calling herself a “body activist” which is vague and I haven’t heard in that way before, but I suppose anyone can be.



Firstly, Ashley Graham is a MODEL! She’s not the average woman. I do understand that the modeling industry is different than the actual world in that someone of Ashley’s size is deemed plus size, but to most people she would be seen as simply beautiful. In the video with Jonas she appears equal to him in size for the most part. Maybe a bit of an Amazon, but fashion runways aren’t inclusive of shorties or even average height models. Old news, for sure. But the internet was a-buzz when this DNCE video premiered with how revolutionary it was for her to be in it.  I just can’t get behind that. There is nothing revolutionary about a model in a music video.

Ashley Graham doesn’t represent fat women, plus size women or anyone else but herself, in my opinion. I don’t look up to her and I honestly don’t think anyone should. I’m fat. She is not fat. A 30 inch waist is not revolutionary! (Her listed measurements: 42-30-46) You want revolutionary show me a video with Gaborey Sibide making out with a Jonas brother! Show me an example of the girl being bigger than the boy and still having a fucking blast! Normalize something we never get a chance to see! Show me large confident men grinding and smiling with one another! Show me differently sized and aged bodies! Show me something we haven’t seen before!

Not liking labels is all well and good but that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world where Ashley Graham is seen as something new and different when she’s really not.

Melissa McCarthy has supported Ashley Graham’s call to end the term “plus-size”, saying it is an example of the “obsession” with categorising women. McCarthy said: “I so look forward to not always categorising. I think we categorise and categorise and I don’t think it’s done so much with men. And, by ‘I don’t think’, I mean it’s not.”
Speaking about her recent clothing line, “I make clothes for women. I think just chip away at it and stop making it a thing. I’m trying with my line, any time someone says ‘you make a plus-size line’, I just correct them and say ‘I make clothes for women’. I’m not making a plus-size line, if a plus-size store or if a store of certain sizes buys them that’s what’s going in there. But I’m just making women’s clothing, there is an obsession with categorising.”

The problem there is that she’s selling those “clothes for women” at Lane Bryant…A plus size clothing store! And any fatty can tell you what their smaller friends think or know about good ole LB (hint: not much but it ain’t positive).  And trying to find clothing in plus sizes at a department store is always difficult. Taking away the categorization of clothing is a nice thought but logistically a nightmare. As it is we’re relegated to dark corners, basements, sparse racks bordering the maternity section without its own designation or signage.

I suppose in the age of instagram and snapchat, seeing a Jonas brother with a not tiny-skinny-model-actress feels revolutionary for some, but that just depresses me. Why I want what has never been before, well, I dunno. Seems irrational, I guess. But I have a teenage niece who sees this shit. Luckily she’s not into this kind of music but what she is into, as far as body diversity (or any diversity imo) goes it’s worse. There’s so much pressure to fit in and conform and while the intention behind including a plus size model in the DNCE video is up for debate, revolutionary it isn’t.

What are your thoughts about this? Maybe I’m missing something, let me know in comments!

Mull it Over Monday
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