Instagram / Ashley Graham

When Demi Moore's nude pregnancy photo in Vanity Fair came out, it was groundbreaking. We had never seen a woman's pregnant body presented in such a natural state (albeit, one that was heavily lighted and likely photoshopped.) Nowadays, Instagram has made it common for celebs to post photos of their uncovered growing bellies, but sometimes it feels like we're not seeing pregnancy for what it is. It isn't always beautiful, and you probably don't have a team of stylists following you around making sure everything is just right. You don't experience that magic "pregnancy glow" for nine months. It comes with stretch marks and weight gain, morning sickness, and melisma.

Many women experience the less-than-glamorous symptoms of pregnancy, and yet, we hardly ever see them. Supermodel Ashley Graham stripped off all the glamour and posted a nude photo of her pregnant body, celebrating all of the "imperfections" that come with growing a baby. Graham, who is pregnant with her first child with husband Justin Ervin, chose to present her body with child au natural, stretch marks and all.Graham posted the photo on Instagram five days after she announced her pregnancy. "Same same but a little different," she wrote in the caption.


RELATED: A man described the awe of watching his wife give birth, and it's giving us all the feels

Fans and other celebrities were supportive that Graham chose to present pregnancy without all the filters and photo shop. "My Lord, THANK YOU for this" wrote Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum.

Not surprisingly, many women said they related to Graham's pregnant physique. "I will always love my tiger stripes. Now it's time to show them off. Thank you from the bottom of my [heart emoji]," one Instagram user posted.

"Thanks for always being real and honest! Beautiful! Makes me feel that I could be beautiful too with all my cellulite and stretch marks!" wrote another.

"I'm pregnant, hormonal, and going through so many body changes. This made me tear up. I really needed this today," said a third.

RELATED: James Van Der Beek's pregnancy announcement casually helps destigmatize miscarriages

Graham, who rose to prominence in 2016 when she became the first-ever plus-sized swimsuit model on the cover of Sports Illustrated, is a body activist who speaks about body positivity and inclusion. Graham says that her career gained momentum once she began embracing her body. "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 a 2015 TED talk. "And that's okay. Rolls, curves, cellulite, all of it. I love every part of me."

Graham might have posted the "same same," but when it comes to the images of pregnancy we're presented with, it's a lot different.

Photo from Dole
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As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

When people think of the Deep South, especially in states like Mississippi, most people don't imagine a diverse and accepting way of life. People always look at me as if I've suddenly sprouted a unicorn horn when I reminisce on my time living in Biloxi and the eclectic people I've met there, many of whom I call friends. I often find myself explaining that there are two distinct Mississippis—the closer you get to the water, the more liberal it gets. If you were to look at an election map, you'd see that the coast is pretty deeply purple while the rest of the state is fire engine red.

It's also important to note that in a way, I remember my time in Biloxi from a place of privilege that some of my friends do not possess. It may be strange to think of privilege when it comes from a Black woman in an interracial marriage, but being cisgendered is a privilege that I am afforded through no doing of my own. I became acutely aware of this privilege when my friend who happens to be a transgender man announced that he was expecting a child with his partner. I immediately felt a duty to protect, which in a perfect world would not have been my first reaction.

It was in that moment that I realized that I was viewing the world through my lens as a cisgendered woman who is outwardly in a heteronormative relationship. I have discovered that through writing, you can change the narrative people perceive, so I thought it would be a good idea to sit down with my friend—not only to check in with his feelings, but to aid in dissolving the "otherness" that people place upon transgender people.

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Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

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