Who has heard of Tess Holliday aka Tess Munster?
In 2013 she started the #effyourbeautystandards movement on Instagram, encouraging people to love their bodies and be proud of their bodies no matter their size.
In January of this year (2015) she made history by becoming the largest plus size model to be signed to a mainstream modelling agency.
She is a US size 22 – UK size 26 so naturally her images have caused controversy. They have encouraged the keyboard warriors at home to unleash their vicious tongue in full glory.
What is their argument?
That she is unhealthy, promoting obesity, glamorizing obesity, and encouraging children to become obese themselves… the list goes on.
As an obese adult I am here to tell you that if your child is obese by the time they hit their teenage years or before then, it is more often than not your fault. Excluding any children who are overweight due to health reasons or medication etc.
You feed your children, you have fed them since day one, and it is your responsibility to educate on foods so that when they are left to make their own food choices they make the right ones.
No child grows up with the ambition or dream of becoming morbidly obese.
We know that our world is full of all different types of people. Different genders, race, hair colours, eye colour, appearance, size. So why not teach our children to be more accepting? The concern over someone like Tess gracing our magazines is misplaced. Rather than focussing on her weight, perhaps focus on her confidence. She knows she is overweight she makes no secret of it, but have you seen her smile? How happy she is? How comfortable she is within her own skin?
This isn’t about ‘us’ and ‘them’, fat people against skinny people. This is about body confidence and allowing anybody no matter their size to love themselves.
If we spend our time educating the younger generation in hate and shaming then we are setting them up to fail. We are setting them up for a lifetime of striving for ‘perfection’, comparing themselves to their peers, and struggling to accept themselves. Is this how you want your children and family to live? To spend each day struggling to just be themselves.
This is why I stand up openly and support models like Tess, the same way I support smaller sized models. No it is not ok to promote an unhealthy lifestyle, but it is ok to promote body acceptance. Some people are naturally a size zero so why should we exclude them? Just like lifestyle, illness etc. may mean that someone is obese. Exclusion and shaming is NOT ok on any level. So let’s unite and encourage our younger generation to be more accepting so that they can live in a world where they don’t have to starve themselves in order to fit in, so they don’t have to sit in jeans and a long sleeved top in the middle of summer because they are too afraid of people staring at them.
If you fill them with tools and understanding about the importance of eating well and exercising regularly then you’ve given them the best start in life. You’ve taught them the importance of fuelling their bodies correctly in order to yield the best results. Children learn from us, so rather than teaching them about all your insecurities give them the power to live without them.