This week, Tess Holliday has made history by becoming the first signed model of her height and size. The news has largely divided public opinion and raises the interesting question of whether promoting a Size 22 body size is constructive or destructive.
I definitely agree that there is a drastic need for a redefinition of beauty. It is completely ridiculous that mainstream media lacks the representation of the every-day human body. On one hand, it is thrilling that a plus sized model is able to have such amazing body confidence and promote positivity. On the other hand, it seems that the media have fetishized a body-shape that is not healthily attainable for the majority of women. This is also the case for the models that have an emaciated appearance or those with perfect hourglass frames. It is difficult to engage and connect with these images, and at times they can evoke a feeling of complete inadequacy.
I’m glad that Holliday has been emphasising the fact that she works out with a personal trainer four days a week, as it counters the vast swarm of commenters that claim she is promoting an unhealthy body image. In my opinion, there should be no qualms as long as someone is happy and making sure they have an active lifestyle. I also find it horrifying that a person can be bashed for being content in their own body. The only danger in this is that while Holliday is regularly exercising, the majority of people that are size 22 face serious health implications. Idealising her buxom figure may have negative repercussions.
Nevertheless, I can’t help but be drawn in by Holliday as she is using her publicity to exude positivity. Not once has she been quoted shaming those who are skinny, which seems to be a popular trend right now (I’m looking at you Meghan Trainor!) As well as this, she hasn’t claimed to be modelling for anyone else’s pleasure – it is her body and she feels sexy and that’s the most important thing.
It’s amazing to see girls from all over the world tweeting how Tess has inspired them to embrace their bodies and be more confident. I love Holliday’s message that it’s important to “surround yourself with positive, like-minded people who support you. It’s crucial to your happiness and well-being. Never compare yourself to others and celebrate what makes you, YOU”.
Although it is a very uphill battle changing the image projected by the media, it is definitely a good thing that more plus sized models are present. Hopefully one day this won’t just be representing the different extremes of body image and will reflect and support the every-day person.