Let’s Talk About Tess – “Glamorising” Obesity

So, last week Cosmopolitan Magazine put out an article featuring the wonderfully beautiful Tess Holliday, not only that but they featured her on the front cover looking AMAZING! Unfortunately, this has caused quite an outrage…I mean, how dare anyone feature a true plus-size model on their front cover. So, let’s talk about Tess and “glamorising” obesity.

Tess Holliday Cosmopolitan

Who Is Tess Holliday?

Tess is an American plus-sized model, makeup artist and blogger living in LA. She’s been a model since her early teens and a huge advocate for body confidence and positivity. She’s quoted in the Cosmopolitan article as a UK size 20. She has featured as a model for companies such as Marie Claire and H&M, as well as on the cover of People magazine.

“Glamorising” Obesity

After the cover was released to the public there has been what I can only describe as a hate campaign (and a hell of a lot of fat shaming) against her, and of course, the editors of Cosmopolitan. People, including Piers Morgan, claiming that these images are glamorising obesity and encouraging young, naive women to follow in her footsteps and gain weight…WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?

Who in their right mind looks at her images and think yeah, lets head to McDonald’s to start looking more like her? No offence to Tess and I’m on the larger side, but everyone knows the risks of being obese and it’s not like being obese is all fun and games! It’s hard on your body, your mental health and hell, hard on your purse because larger clothes cost more – especially when you can’t just pop into Primark for some cheap bits.

No healthy woman is going to opt to gain this much weight and if they do make this choice then they really should speak to a doctor about their mental state, I’m sorry but it’s true.

Promoting Body Positivity

Tess is a beautiful person, yes her current size and weight aren’t healthy but she looks beautiful. When I see her images it makes me feel so much better about myself. They tell me that I could look that beautiful if I made the effort. I’m not as big as she is which is telling my mind “Wow I could look as great as she does, and I’m smaller than she is”. It’s a relief. Looking at her images doesn’t make me hate myself.

It also doesn’t deter me from trying to lose weight. I know how hard being the size I am is, why would I want to add more pressure to my body? It just gives me a little boost that helps me along my weight loss journey.

Tess Holliday Cosmopolitan

The Other End Of The Scale

On the other hand, when I see the super skinny women who they promote as “normal” size in these sorts of magazines I feel shit about myself. I long to be thinner, though admittedly not that thin, and this is the look that is “glamorised” in our society. There is less information out there about the dangers of being anorexic, how that impacts your body and mental health so it’s not seen as that dangerous.

We’re always told that being overweight can cause heart disease, cancer, diabetes, joint damage etc There are campaigns about it all over the NHS, the TV, in schools so people know that gaining an unhealthy amount of weight isn’t sensible. BUT underweight models are all over the fashion scene, in magazines, on runways, on TV adverts so it is normalised without the same warnings that obesity carries. In fact, a lot of the problems that come with obesity are also present with anorexia – it’s all down to putting a strain on the body.

Thank You Tess

What the women (and men) of the world want to see is people who are normal. Did you know that anything over a UK size 12 in the fashion industry is classified as “plus size”? Yet, the UK’s average size is a 16. How backwards is that?

People want to see people who look like them! They want size 12-16 to be seen as the normal, they want jiggly bellies and boobs, stretch marks, imperfections and dad bods. If the fashion and beauty industry started normalising the “average” person then maybe there would be less glamorising of unhealthy weights.

But until that happens, I want to personally thank Tess for making me not feel as shit these past few days. For making me believe that I can look amazing even though I’m overweight and for encouraging me to stay on my weight loss journey. You are a beautiful woman and you deserve that front cover more than most.

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Tess – “Glamorising” Obesity”

  1. I have been overweight most of my life, thankfully I wasn’t the girly type and therefore didn’t really look at magazines showing these underweight models everyone then wanted to be like. The internet wasn’t a thing when I was young either. I feel sorry for young girls today, the pressure on them to feel they need to look a certain way is everywhere. It is literally in their pocket on social media on their phone. I would hate to be a young girl as I was back then, I wasn’t huge but I was overweight. Now I am pretty big and its awful, clothes that fit are hard to come by or ones that look nice and don’t cost the earth are anyway, but thankfully I have confidence in myself now that most young girls simply haven’t developed yet. Everyone thinks I am this way because clearly I must eat too much or whatever it is they think – I wish they knew the truth sometimes, I wish they knew that actually when I am not working I eat nowhere near enough and that is probably a big part of why I am the way I am. I wish they knew that I have tried everything over the years to lose weight, that I go to the gym twice a week for nothing because I never shift any weight at all but I still go in the hope. I wish they knew that I have begged doctor after doctor to take me seriously with regards to my weight, if I had randomly lost the amount of weight I randomly put on they would be having a fit trying to figure out what is wrong with me but when you put on weight you are clearly just doing it to yourself.

    Being overweight is not good for you, believe me I know but neither is being as underweight as the models we are used to seeing. I don’t think that using a size 20 model glamorises obesity as a one off anyway, how can they say that when these people spend their whole time glamorising being too thin? I would personally like to see some middle ground – models that look like regular people of average sizes, a range of sizes would be even better. One thing that really gets me is plus size clothes being modelled by someone who is the furthest thing from what is actually plus sized!

  2. You have hit the nail on the head here Chammy. it is”normal” sized women who should be glamorised, not the very overweight or very underweight. I say this as a normal sized woman who has always felt pressure to be thinner. It is also true that seeing bigger women look beautiful can help on on one’s weight loss journey, cause you realise that you can look good a the size you are and maybe this stops you from eating for the wrong reasons or making unhealthy choices.

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