When I was 13 years old I wanted to draw a piece that was based on Size 0 models. Imagine a cage full of emaciated models, in designer wear, visitors pay to see these gaunt women, with a sign on their cage that reads “Do Not Feed The Models”. I never made that piece but it has stuck with me all of these years because I find myself torn, do we accept people for who they are or do we tell them that they need to put weight on/lose weight. For years we have seen catwalk pave the way for size zero models who’s ribs are so visible they make silhouettes on the skin they’re in and it has been widely accepted. Indeed there has been outrage and campaigning against these unhealthy looking women, France even went as far as banning size zero models, but, we still see them strutting designers’ latest collections down the catwalk years and years later.

“Come as you are, as you were, As I want you to be”

Fun Fact: The lyrics of Come As You Are by Nirvana are about the way society is hypocritically contorted, give or take a few of the lyrics.

A new team player has stepped forward into the fashion limelight and she has shifted the balance completely. Tess Holliday, a plus size model, the first of her size (22) to obtain a modelling contract is taking the fashion world by storm and telling women everywhere that they are beautiful no matter what size or shape they are by telling the industry to “Eff their beauty standards”. There are those that love her, her fierceness and her message but there are also many that worry that she is promoting and condoning obesity.

Whilst Tess has never explicitly stated that she believes it is okay to be obese, she does believe that everyone should be allowed to feel beautiful and sexy no matter what size they are. Some have argued that praise cannot be given to a size 22 model while size 0 models are being slammed. It’s hypocritical! However one could also say that it is hypocritical to have allowed women that suffer with eating disorders such as anorexia to promote beauty and fashion trends for all of these years but as soon as a size 22 model walks through the door, we don’t point our frustration loaded gun at the people in charge instead, we shoot the messenger. We become the hypocrites, once again. I personally don’t believe that Tess’ intentions are to promote obesity, I think she is promoting self-love and self-acceptance whilst just happening to be size 22, which actually is no accident. Because the question should be, why is she the face of this self-love campaign when there are so many other women saying the same thing, why her, what makes her so special?

Here’s Looking At You Media! 

Throughout our lives we are told that you can’t be too fat or too skinny whilst we are shown women at each spectrum and it’s now opened up a tin of worms, as we argue the difference between each body shape, what is right and what is wrong we miss the bigger picture. Even the void in between size zero and 22, size ten in the UK and upwards is classed as “Plus Sized” a very vast and different looking line of women if you ever saw one. So where does that leave us? We begin to ask questions like the one a fellow NUBI writer asked in a recently conversation on the topic, “Why can’t we promote healthy lifestyles?”. Well, why can’t we?

Quite simply, the media loves to feed us stories and people who create controversy, things that we sink our pearly opinionated teeth into and tear apart and promoting a healthy lifestyle does not spark a glimmering outrage the same kind of way the image of an anorexic woman and an obese woman does. But more importantly, the media get their kicks out of seeing the people divided, watching everyone point fingers and what better way to do that than have a size 22 model promote beauty at any size!

I believe ladies and gents we have been had! 

Whether we agree that a size 22 model shouldn’t be glorified or believe that she should be praised because of this important message she is trying to spread, you cannot ignore the placement of Tess Munster in the fashion industry nor the size zero models they are proud to parade on the catwalk. Controversy is sexy and it sells!

Best Wishes, 

Jordan Garvey
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