If you haven’t heard of Tess Holliday by now, you may be living under a rock. Most recently she graced the cover of People Magazine and has been featured in numerous fashion campaigns for Torrid, ModCloth, and many other leading fashion labels. So why is Tess Holliday such a big deal?
Tess Holliday was the first size 22 model to be signed to a major modeling agency. Most “plus-size” brands use plus-size models on the lower end of the size range, usually a model who is a size 14 or 16 (plus-size is usually considered sizes 14-30, although I recently saw a size 12 labeled as plus-size which is a huge issue in itself). She made headlines, but also faced a lot of controversy from the public. Many thought she was setting a bad example for being celebrated for being “overweight.” Holliday has said in many interviews that she ignores the criticism and is healthy and active.
It’s sad that people are taking this wonderful body positivity image and turning it into a negative message about how she is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. Holliday loves her body and isn’t afraid to embrace it. She often posts bikini and lingerie pictures on her Instagram (@Tessholliday) and teaches girls that just because they aren’t skinny, that doesn’t mean that they can’t look and feel sexy.
Not only is Holliday famous for being the first size 22 model, but she is also recognized for starting the popular body positivity movement called #effyourbeautystandards. #effyourbeautystandards is a popular hashtag on Instagram where women everywhere post pictures of themselves loving their bodies and being confident and happy with who they are. Their Instagram account of the same name posts pictures that women (and men!) post with the hashtag. Here are just a few examples below of these gorgeous people loving every curve and imperfection:
What’s encouraging is that most of the comments tend to be positive, which is a rare occurrence on the internet. So with Tess Holliday and the #effyourbeautystandards movement, are people starting to embrace plus-size models and more curvy girls as the new norm and the new standard of beauty?
Well, there is no clear answer to this, but plus-size models are appearing more and more in fashion campaigns as well as in other media.
For example, the first plus-size woman was featured on the cover for a running magazine, showing that just because somebody is heavier, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t fit and healthy.
More and more campaigns and media are teaching women to embrace their curves and to love their bodies. The #imnoangel campaign started by clothing brand Lane Bryant teaches girls that they do not need to have a perfect, petite Victoria’s Secret model’s body to be sexy and beautiful. Our media is taking a step in the right direction by having more realistic, curvy women in their images.
However, there are still a lot of problems. Many people believe that when a company portrays a plus-size model, that company is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. A heavier person can be healthy, just like a skinny person can be unhealthy. After all, it’s whats inside that matters.
Most recently, a Facebook group decided to post images of Photoshopped plus-size models. They changed the models to have very skinny, unrealistic body features. They claimed that these women were beautiful once they were shrunk down to Barbie proportions:
Yeah, it’s pretty messed up. This group has faced lots of backlash, but still has not backed down. A lot of “Photoshop projects” have made heavier women skinnier since that is still the standard beauty norm.
Overall, the media is starting to change how we view plus-size models. They are starting to be recognized as a perfectly acceptable beauty norm, even though we still have a long way to go. Love your bodies and don’t let anybody tell you that you aren’t beautiful.