"People who think I’m glorifying obesity are glorifying stupidity."
What: Plus-size model and activist Tess Holliday clapped back at critics accusing her of glorifying obesity... By eating
a cake replica of her Cosmopolitan UK cover.
Cosmo UK's decision to feature Tess on the cover of its October issue was praised by some as a bold FU to a fashion industry often accused of fostering unrealistic and unhealthy body images.
But some critics have suggested that putting Holliday, a 33-year-old obese model, on the cover results in promoting an equally unhealthy body image. To them, Holliday responded with a simple Instagram post last Tuesday.
"People who think I’m glorifying obesity are glorifying stupidity. I am pretty glorious though,"
Why: The negative reactions to Holliday's cover came as soon as Cosmo unveiled it.
"As Britain battles an ever-worsening obesity crisis, this is the new cover of Cosmo. Apparently we’re supposed to view it as a ‘huge step forward for body positivity. What a load of old baloney. This cover is just as dangerous & misguided as celebrating size zero models."
"This is one cover, which has a larger lady on the cover, in a sea, in a world, in a culture which has venerated, since I can remember, thinness," Farrah said.
Others who stood up for Holliday argued that the health risk that should really worry the fashion industry is anorexia, not obesity. But it should be noted that almost a third of American women suffer from obesity, whereas anorexia affects less than 1 percent of women in the US.
Similar backlash was stirred in June when Holliday was featured as the cover model for the first issue of Self, a health magazine.
Holliday's supporters applauded the magazine for the impact it can have on young girls struggling with their bodies.
For some reason I burst into tears when I saw this. Maybe because I used to pore through women's magazines at a teen for HOURS of misery, imagining how much happier I'd be if I looked like them. I just pray this means my daughters won't waste so many formative minutes. https://t.co/pUoSjQaKFF— Sasha Brown-Worsham (@sashabrownworsh) August 29, 2018
And some even pushed back against critics, saying that the backlash isn't an honest concern with health, but merely body-shaming in disguise.
You guys are not concerned about her health. Seeing a person that is not thin bothers you (and a lot of people) so much that you have to say those things in order to feel that it's fine to promote bullying and say things that no one's asked for.— MIRandoalfuturo (@MRandoalfuturo) August 31, 2018
But even if the real issue is body-shaming and not health, it's uncertain whether Holliday's cover is the right message. According to some critics, Cosmo may have presented an alternative to their stick-skinny model, but only by representing another kind of extremity. Average body sizes remain unrepresented.
So we've swung from anorexic to obese? What about me, an average looking 40-year-old? WHEN IS IT MY TURN TO HAVE A MAGAZINE COVER? THIS IS BULLSHIT. #bodypositivity #average #effyourbeautystandards pic.twitter.com/XX93fefXbp— Bridget Phetasy (@BridgetPhetasy) August 30, 2018
Germania is a staff writer for Pluralist.