The Internet had a lot to say about Ashley Graham on the latest cover of Vogue.
The March issue cover of the iconic fashion magazine features seven top models with broad diversity: Liu Wen, Ashley Graham, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Imaan Hammam, Adwoa Aboah, and Vittoria Ceretti (from left to right). The models are styled in black turtlenecks and patterned bikini bottoms, with minimal makeup to give focus to natural beauty.
The 7 models are posed similarly, save for one small difference: Ashley Graham, the plus model of the group, has her hand placed gently on her thigh.
While the other models have their arms around the waist of another, Graham’s hand was draped over her thigh. It didn’t take long for people to take to social media to jump right on that, claiming that her hand was strategically placed to cover her thigh.
The detail has not gone unnoticed. “Bit of a shame that Ashley Graham was the only model who had to use her arm to cover her thigh,” somebody tweeted. “I just can’t help but notice you’re the only model covering your leg. Why would they not have you pose like the rest?!” wrote somebody else.
Graham has since taken to Instagram, writing, “I chose to pose like that..no one told me to do anything.”
While we believe her, parts of us think that using that shot was an oversight by the publication. She is the only plus-size model in the shot and she’s the only one to cover that part of her body. It may have been Graham’s decision to pose with her arm concealing her thigh, but it was the decision of the editor-in-chief (Anna Wintour) to choose the particular cover shot.
Are we all reading way too far into thigh-gate to find something wrong with Vogue‘s cover?
It’s unfortunate that Graham’s Vogue debut has been engulfed by a body shaming narrative. It seems Graham can’t do anything right these days: She was deemed her “too fat” for the pages of Sports Illustrated by Internet trolls, and a community of plus-sized women expressed they felt abandoned by Graham as a role model when she lost weight by working out and eating well.
While people may remain divided on whether or not the picture should have been used, one thing is for sure; the girl deserves a damn break from the scrutiny and it’s time we give her one.