Is promoting a Size 22 model constructive or destructive?

image13This 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.


14 thoughts on “Is promoting a Size 22 model constructive or destructive?

  1. I do love that she does not body shame other women for their size. Her positivity and message is needed today because the internet and the media can be so negative no matter what size the person may be.

  2. I think the problem is that the media uses two extremes: the super-skinny models, and on the other side of the spectrum, women like Tess. There are more than just two body shapes, and the media doesn’t seem to get that. Like why can’t we have models of all shapes and sizes? That way, nobody is promoting simply a skinny model or a “plus-size” model. That way, no woman is forced to think that she has to reach one of two body shapes to be beautiful; everyone should feel comfortable in whatever body they have.

  3. I think it’s good to see more variety in models but I don’t think it’s good to portray this as healthy or something we should attain to. If I remember rightly, Madrid introduced a couple of years ago that only models with a healthy BMI could model and I thought that was a good idea, although I would have liked to see more at the higher end of the spectrum!

  4. Meh, it’s not like stick then models are any more healthy ya know? I figure if McDonalds can advertiste 1,000 calorie meals (that aren’t good for you) and if tobacco companies can advertise products that are KNOWN to cause cancer, then why should we care if a model is “too thick” or “too thin.” I think it is good to see some change in what is considered beautiful by this industry though 🙂

  5. It’s a tricky subject, but I do like they the media is now representing other body types. As long as she is excising and is happy with her body, that’s what matters. I agree that if she were not excising, it would be a problem. It would send the wrong message to women about nutrition.

  6. To me Tess’s modeling seems to be constructive. I think that a lot of people equate being larger to being unhealthy when a lot of times that is not the case. I think having larger models would actually be beneficial to many girls’ mental health and shows them that beauty is not a number. I don’t think we should strive to switch from thin women to larger women being fetishized in the media but rather work on showing a range of bodies. I honestly don’t believe that it matters if she exercises or not. It’s her body and her health is between her and her doctor.

  7. I think it’s more offensive to have 99% of all model images photoshopped. We need to start showing how people really look in clothes. People are imperfect and there’s beauty in that. A persons health is between them and their doctor. Aspiring to be like models has led many girls to anorexia. That is just as unhealthy as a size 22 woman.

  8. We must not confuse a healthy self image with accepting an unhealthy lifestyle which can contribute to obesity. Being overweight will not help a person feel better about themselves and accepting oneself or identifying as being obese as part of normalcy can lead to other negative states.

    When a person discovers true self esteem and true well being, their bodies will accordingly reflect that state.

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