Model Jessica Vander Leahy knows when to take a compliment, and when to shut one down. After a recent Instagram commenter told her she looked “10x better than Ashley Graham,” she explained to her fans why pitting successful women against one another just tears them both down.
As Revelist reports, Vander Leahy responded to the comment with an insightful take on the importance of cheering on others’ success. “I think it’s important to remember that another woman doesn’t need to be torn down for another woman to rise,” she wrote. “That’s not the system we need to encourage anymore cause there’s room for more than one woman at the top — in every business.” Her nod to the “system” is a reminder that women are constantly pitted against one another, be it Rihanna versus Beyoncé or Bette Davis versus Joan Crawford.
Sometimes I get comments like this that are supposed to be 'compliments' BUT they really just make my heart hurt. Normally if I see them I just delete them, but now I think maybe it's important to address it. A comment like this ???????? might have positive intentions toward me, but I don't need someone else to be insulted/put down to get my big ups. Plz, if you're trying to give a compliment, don't compare two women as if they're in competition – it's not good for WomanKIND, or humanity in general. There's enough love for everyone ???????????? (Also, no disrespect to the person who wrote this comment – like I said there probably was no ill-intentions on their part, but it was just a good comment to highlight something I've noticed a lot of lately and I have hidden their details so they don't feel embarrassed or ashamed – that's not my goal, I just want to share to inform others ????????)
A post shared by jëssica vandër lëahy (@jessicavanderleahy) on Mar 30, 2017 at 8:39am PDT
When it comes to Graham specifically, Vander Leahy has nothing but respect for all she’s accomplished. “Ashley Graham is a bad-ass trailblazer in her own right, whom I am in total awe of. No need for comparison or critique between women – we’re different, unique, and beautiful in our own way,” she writes.
The fact that modeling is an industry literally focused on what someone looks like means there is an instinctual urge to compare two brown-haired, curvy models, both of whom you may encounter mostly on Instagram. But it only takes a few moments of digging to find not only the differences between these two women but how well they would work together instead of against each other. Ashley Graham: Sports Illustrated cover star and body-positive activist with her own swimsuit line. Jessica Vander: founder of Project WomanKIND, a website and web series dedicated to “exploring the journeys and achievements of women.” These two belong on the same team.
As Vander Leahy writes, “I don’t need someone else to be insulted/put down to get my big ups.” Clearly, she’s got plenty to be proud of all by herself.
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