I personally have never been one to judge somebody based on their size or weight, so I can never understand why someone else does. Though, I can admit that when I see someone who looks unhealthy, be it from being underweight or overweight, I will ask the question “How can they do that to themselves?”. But that’s just because I’ve never been a person who has to worry about their weight (thanks mum for the good genetics!).
So when I saw that a size 22 woman, Tess Holliday, had become the latest big hit model, I wasn’t at all bothered. It didn’t affect my life and it didn’t make a huge change to it. But since this news broke a few days ago, all I’ve seen covering my Twitter feed and Facebook timeline is negative comments about how she shouldn’t be allowed to model because she is “too big” and she isn’t a real role model for women.
I can see both sides to this argument. On one hand, yes she isn’t a healthy weight and she is bigger than you would expect a typical model to be. Yes, this may give off the impression that it is perfectly okay to put on a load of weight and then never lose it. It does make it seem like there is nothing wrong with it. In reality, there isn’t a lot wrong with it at all apart from the health risks you could face.
Yet, on the other hand, she is showing plus sized woman that it is okay to be the size they are. She’s the one who they can turn to in a magazine or look up online and say “If she can do it then why can’t I?”. It’s good to see that there is a model out there representing women who may have otherwise felt put down by the media before for not having the right body shape. I remember when I was younger and watching That’s So Raven on Disney Channel, there was an episode when Raven was told she was too big to be a catwalk model and she stood up and said that ‘women come in all shapes and sizes and they’re all beautiful’. That is still true. So what that it came from a kids show, it’s more relevant now than ever.
There are thousands of size 0 models around who portray another completely unhealthy message. It is not healthy to never eat or to eat the bare minimum. It is also an unrealistic expectation that, when size 0 was the ‘in’ body-type, caused anorexia rates to rocket to an all time high. A size 22 model is the other end of the scale from a size 0 model. Neither are fantastic role models. One says its okay to overeat and the other says it is okay to never eat. But surely women of the 21st Century are clued up enough to know that neither is healthy? Surely they can make their own minds up about what size they’re happy being?
The idea that women have to have a certain body isn’t something that’s new, it’s been around for years. Every decade there is a new body type that women are expected to get within two sessions at the gym. 2014 saw the year that the Kim Kardashian bum was expected and men would instantly date a girl if she had the same kind of body. So why should this be any different?
Just because Tess’s got more junk in the trunk than most doesn’t mean she can’t model. She is allowed to do whatever the hell she wants. If she has the confidence to go and get her body photographed then let her because I sure wish I had that amount of confidence! I personally think she’s stunning. #EffYourBeautyStandards