The new issue of Cosmopolitan UK, which features plus-size model Tess Holliday, has drawn much praise as a win for body inclusivity. But that hasn’t stopped detractors who believe it’s wrong to have a woman of Holliday’s size on the cover of a fashion magazine.
On Wednesday, Holliday posted the cover on Twitter, saying, “If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life.” And many young women agreed, saying it was monumental to see themselves represented in beauty and fashion.
How many young women would have been out enjoying life knowing they're beautiful as they are, rather than crying over why they don't look like they "should", if photos like this were more prevalent? https://t.co/yhvnuWwRFG— BAFTM (@GoAMilaMinute) August 29, 2018
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
This photo, I would’ve never taken a year ago. I’ve gained confidence in myself & my body, no matter what it’s like. @Tess_Holliday and @roseybeeme give me the confidence to retort criticism, even from my own mom. Thanks for your help in my journey. #effyourbeautystandards pic.twitter.com/kKBFtd8Isi— Ashley ✨ Rudder (@AshleyFerny) August 30, 2018
In Holliday’s interview, she says she “wants the haters to kiss her ass.” And, well, the haters have arrived—calling her “morbidly obese” and bad role model, among other misguided things—and should probably start puckering up.
Ugh promoting obesity to the youth is like me giving cigarettes to kids… in fact kids are better off smoking than eating an excessive amount and then being like “oh it’s genetic”— JD Salvator Swann (@Jarod_D_T) August 30, 2018
Uh… Okay. I guess we're having ugly people on Cosmo now?— Lord Victor (@lordvictor) August 30, 2018
⚡️ “Tess Holliday's Cosmo cover is being praised as a huge step forward for body positivity”https://t.co/8DRgeC02mh
Even the notably nasty Piers Morgan felt the need to weigh in on Holliday’s Cosmo cover, calling it “a load of old baloney.” “This cover is just as dangerous & misguided as celebrating size zero models,” he wrote on Instagram.
This is the common negative refrain in response to pictures of models like Holliday: that they are promoting an “unhealthy weight.” While many of the commenters draw the comparison Morgan did to it being “just as dangerous” as underweight models, there is not the same level of public outcry when too-thin models are featured.
People who are excited about the Holliday Cosmo cover were quick to take these fatphobic judgments to task, however. As one commenter said, she’s not trying to force you to eat like her; she’s trying to promote “feeling comfortable in your own skin,” said another.
“Fat people are constantly screamed at and bullied for not hating how they look,” style blogger and host of the Fat Girls Club podcast Jessica Torres told the Daily Dot. “It takes a lot of people back and makes them question what we have all believed for years: Fat is ugly and unhealthy. Those who are still slaves to society’s outdated beauty standards tend to be bothered by seeing a fat woman who loves or simply doesn’t hate herself. It must be annoying for them that people have decided to live a great life now and not wait years to be happy and lose weight.”
Why don’t people start realizing the only thing she’s trying to promote is feeling comfortable in your own skin. Whether that’s while your on your journey to a healthier lifestyle or you think you’re living your best life already— YessiBuck (@BuckYessi) August 30, 2018
For her part, Holliday seems to be able to easily shake off criticism from Morgan and the like—and she looks great doing it, to boot.
“To everyone saying I’m a burden to the British health care system, I’m american so you don’t have to worry about my fat ass,” she wrote on Twitter. “Worry about what horrible people you are by whining about how me being on the cover of a glossy magazine impacts your small minded life.”