Model Ashley Graham calls to abandon the ‘plus-size’ label in inspirational TED Talk

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‘The fashion industry might persist to label me as plus-sized, but I like to think of it as my-sized.’

Model and body activist Ashley Graham is taking the Internet by storm with a powerful TED Talk about self-acceptance and body positivity. 

Scouted as a teen, Graham has had a successful career as a plus-size model, appearing on magazine covers and in advertising campaigns. But what does “plus-size” mean, anyway? Speaking at TEDx Berklee Valencia, Graham examined how the fashion industry divides women into categories by body type, with the majority of women now classified as “plus-size”—ostensibly a niche market in the fashion world.

“The fashion industry might persist to label me as plus-sized,” said Graham, “but I like to think of it as my-sized.”

The idea of abandoning the plus-size label is already controversial, with many woman arguing that it’s not just useful when purchasing clothes, but a marker of pride and personal identity in itself. When model Stefania Ferrario launched her #DropThePlus campaign earlier this year, she was met with backlash from body positivity activists who argued that the plus-size label had already been reclaimed.

But regardless of terminology disputes, we can all agree Graham’s message of self-acceptance is a positive one, even if it is delivered by a model.

Screengrab via TEDx Talks/YouTube

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested.