An Interview With Ashleigh Tribble
Hi Ashleigh! We are (obviously) huge fans of you and the community you’ve fostered at @ashleighchubbybunny. Can you tell us a little bit about how you built your platform?
Thank you! That means a lot, obviously, lol. My platform was created out of me at my then PR job putting mood boards together for Brand Concept Developments and other media projects we were working on. I worked for a hair company that sold to black women, but when I would look for pictures for specific mood boards I had to do extra searching - like instead of “cornrows” or “locs” I’d have to specifically type in “black girl cornrows” or “black girl locs” because so many white women were popping up in my search with these hairstyles. I found similarities in my reluctance to use my ig account more because on Facebook at the time there was more representation of plus size women due to established pages, groups, communities, etc.
I took aspects from both my personal and professional life and started to curate the page I wanted to see because I still wasn’t seeing people that looked like me on my if feed - so I started taking more selfies, then reposting other fat babe’s fashion. I started talking more about my sexual and dating experiences as me and my partner opened our relationship so I could process. And once the vulnerability transferred over from Facebook, that’s when I saw my page take off. I started domming in a dungeon and sharing aspects about that people really connected with, I became more present in the sex positivity community through necessity. I shared this journey with my audience and people who looked like me finally began to see themselves in a different narrative than the ones we’ve been taught to accept as fat, black femmes as it pertains to our sexuality.
“Pleasure Activism” is something you advocate for consistently. If you had to define this term to someone who has never heard of it, what would that sound like?
If I had to define “Pleasure Activism” to someone, i would say it’s working towards accepting that sexual pleasure is a human experience that requires the acknowledgment, consideration and respect of all parties involved. As pleasure doesn’t exist in a vacuum, unpacking and dismantling ideas and attitudes that lead to marginalizing and harmful behavior is the key component to creating a fulfilling, healthy and pleasurable sex life.
What are your thoughts on the rise of Sex Worker adjacent platforms like OnlyFans gaining steam amidst a pandemic where it’s more challenging to conduct SW in person?
My thoughts on the rise of sex worker platforms and their popularity during the pandemic are what they’ve always been, people like hoe shit but really don’t like hoes. I find it fascinating that even within my own plus size community, we have influencers and models who have become increasingly visible in the “body positivity” movement through less clothed content expressing whoreaphobia over the success of some SWrs on platforms like OnlyFans. The co-opting of sex work and heaux culture as it pertains to black femmes in order to participate in or perform body positivity is what’s most apparent here, so the subsequent critiques by people who don’t understand the many complexities of sex work outside of an online platform are not warranted - especially if they’re only being expressed out of feeling a way about making less money than someone who’s figured out how to capitalize off of their inherent value as a human.
Anti-blackness can run rampant in many white-led sex-positive spaces...it’s a huge problem that has been ignored for far too long. Have you seen any tangible change in these spaces in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests this spring & summer?
I have not really seen a tangible change in many white-led sex positive spaces so far, even in the wake of the protests, obviously due to not being able to physically occupy spaces at the moment, but more specifically I haven’t seen a genuine interest in including more black people. I feel it’s more performative, as we’re still not getting to the bottom of pleasure as an inalienable right in conjunction with sexual autonomy- something that for centuries black people - who were forced into and subsequently became products of chattel slavery - were heavily denied. The leaps we’ve made in the advancement of that are still heavily critiqued and shat on under the lens of white supremacy because we all exist with whiteness as a construct and culture - so black sexual autonomy is seen as the antithesis of “civilized culture” because of how it was never accepted as a reality in the first place. Look at how everyone responded to ‘WAP’!
That’s why it’s important to include black sexuality in sex-positive spaces because a lot of people who engage in sex with us don’t understand or don’t care about the ways in which they perpetuate oppressive narratives and behavior with black partners, leading to more sexual trauma.
Black sexuality deserves to be celebrated due to how rich and fulfilling it is. Exploring the ways in which black sexuality is co-opted and cosplayed for others to internalize for a boost in self esteem or other salacious reasons is important as well because it would demonstrate the power and impact of such a complex and beautiful aspect of black life and the ways in which once again we’re being used for the advancement of non black pleasure.
How have you been taking care of your mind, body, and spirit during this incredibly turbulent time?
During this time I have been making sure I stay on top of my meds, I am patient with myself, I am relaxed and I just love on myself. I’ve been watching a lot of porn, connecting more with friends, watching porn with friends, lol. Getting back into reading smut, taking care of my rabbits and reworking my “life plan”. Embracing this chaos is the healthiest thing I’ve done in a while, because while it’s beyond difficult, this time period has shown me that all of this is made up. Actually seeing the ant hill being kicked over and not seeing actual structures or improvement, just a lot of tiny things scrambling around collecting food for their matriarch - wait, lol.
It’s just taken the societal pressure off, you know? I was dreading turning 30 so hard because I hadn’t met THE “milestones” yet - And as much as people love to tell you those don’t matter, their behaviors and attitudes show differently. Not having those parameters to exist in due to the pandemic has been freeing. For the first time in years I am focused on actually caring for myself as opposed to just maintaining. I feel like I actually exist now, which is weird.