Proud2Bme | What’s a Desirable Body, Anyway?

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What’s a Desirable Body, Anyway?

By Kaitlin Irwin--When a feminist organization used a photo of model Tess Holliday to advertise their upcoming event, Facebook banned the image, citing that it went against their health and fitness policy. So, what specifically does that policy state?

According to Facebook, “Ads may not contain “before and after” images or images of unexpected or unlikely results. Ads may not depict a state of health or body weight as being perfect or extremely undesirable.” Okay, that’s pretty clear, but why was Tess’ photo taken down? It didn’t violate the policy, and to be honest, I’ve seen plenty of images on Facebook that did violate their health and fitness policy but remained online without any issues. Also, what is “an undesirable manner” of depicting body weight anyway?

To clear up a few things, the image of Tess wasn’t banned from Facebook, but it was banned from the advertisement on Facebook. However, that only lasted for a couple of days, as social media users rushed to slam down Facebook and urge them to approve the photo. Facebook relented and apologized and the photo is back up, which is good because the photo was 100% within the guidelines of the policy. This whole situation brings us to the representation of various body types in the media, and Tess is one model who has been at the forefront of the movement.

Tess Holliday definitely promotes body positivity, but some people worry about whether she promotes a healthy attitude towards overall well-being. I think it’s fine that she is okay with the word “fat,” because it’s just a word, as is “skinny.” Yet Tess is adamant about larger women having their own body labels, be it “fat,” “curvy,” “large,” etc. Why not just banish labels altogether?

Related: Tess Holliday and the "Good Body"

Tess is also a firm believer in eating whatever you want and as much of it as you’d like without “social ostracism.” I agree that no one should be judgmental or interested in what (or how much) someone else eats, although it’s important to remember that we eat in a way that nourishes our bodies, minds and souls. Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, so it’s basically impossible to determine whether another person is eating too much/too little.

Okay, so maybe people can see that they don’t need to be concerned with what Tess Holliday eats. Yet lots of people do cite her BMI and her measurements, which fall into the “obese” category. Even so, we now know that BMI is a very poor indicator of health, although there is a lot of evidence linking larger waist sizes to more health problems. Still, health is too complex to say that everyone with a large waist is “unhealthy.” Plus, Tess reportedly works out with a personal trainer four times a week and does regular aerobic activity; she is an active woman. So do we admire Tess for her badass body positivity, self-acceptance and fierce spirit? Or, do we worry about her physical health and well-being?

The short answer is that it’s not our business. Tess’ health is between her and her doctor. She is happy where she is right now, and her measurements, exercise regimen and diet shouldn’t be our concern. The plethora of body types out there just proves that health looks different on everyone. Whether someone is underweight, overweight or within a healthy range (which is so varied I could write another article on it), you should love and respect your body. It’s fine to work on making it healthier, but even if you’re not where you want to be, you don’t have to be miserable.

It seems that Tess is just fine with her body as it is right now, and that’s her business. I don’t think Tess stands for obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Rather, she represents self-love and acceptance, all while battling prejudice and body hate.

About the blogger: Kaitlin Irwin is a recovered anorexic who spent her college years struggling to hide her illness. With lots of support, patience and an Intensive Outpatient Program, she embraced herself, flaws and all. In her free time, she enjoys exercise, cooking and art and can usually be found with a good book, a journal or her fiancé. She hopes to use her love of creative expression to spread positivity and love to others.

Header image courtesy of Huffington Post 


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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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