TW for fat shaming
“Unless you’re someone who refuses to use social media, I’m sure you’re aware that plus-size model Tess Munster/Holliday has rocked people’s worlds by becoming the first model ‘of her size’ signed to an agency. Her size being: 5'5” and a size 22, which is a far cry from the industry’s standard of having traditionally hourglass-y figures that are a size 10. Plus models never wear above a 16/18, and are usually 5'8" or taller. Guys… Tess is super short and super fat and breaking all the motherfucking rules like the superhero she is.
But changing the status quo is anything but easy. If I ever want to mourn humanity, all I have to do is scroll through Tess’s Instagram comments. Kids, don’t try this at home. No really, just trust me on this and let me tell you what you’ll find so you don’t have to mourn humanity too. Its a rare practice for me nowadays, but when I DO take a second to remind myself that this work is important by looking through her account, I find hundreds upon hundreds (collectively, thousands… we might be up to a millions) of comments that either call her barnyard animal names, spout “facts” about how she’ll die early on because: science, or express their concern about the fact that she’s a negative role model for promoting obesity by loving herself… and these are the kind ones.
For years, this vitriol has left me puzzled and asking: WHY is this happening? WHY is loving yourself so controversial? WHY U SO MAD WORLD?
Well, I learned why and it’s because of a thing I like to call Body Currency.
In a killer interview with Yahoo! Health, Virgie Tovar recaps it ever so eloquently (as she often tends to do):
“Fat” is just the current catchall word for all the things that we as a culture are afraid of: women’s rights, people refusing to acquiesce to cultural pressures of conformity, fear of mortality. [People who hate fat people] see body love as a move toward people taking charge of their lives and choosing what they want to do, no matter what the culture says. This is really scary to a lot of people.
The anger they express is actually toward themselves. A person who hates seeing a happy, liberated person wishes they had the strength to do that, but they are too entrenched or “bought in” to the way things are right now to see it as a beautiful thing. So they see it and they hate it. … People have invested a lot of time and a lot of resources into this game that says “thin wins.” So when people see exceptions to that rule, they feel personally invalidated, personally stolen from, personally affronted."
It falls right in line with a conversation I had with friends where we discussed the difference between reactions that apologetic fatties vs. unapologetic fatties receive. Gabi Gregg of Gabifresh nailed it by saying:
"If there is a fat person on television trying super hard to lose weight, crying about how hard life is, and talking about how they eat to cope etc, then everyone is at home crying and cheering them on. Put that same person in a crop top while they smile, and the pitchforks come out.”
Read the full piece here, including the author’s explanation of "Body Currency”