Body positivity activist and model Tess Holliday will be featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan U.K.’s October issue, set to hit newsstands on Friday.
Holliday, a key figure in the pro-obesity movement, gushed over the swimsuit cover on Twitter. “I’m literally a COSMO GIRL!! Can’t believe I’m saying that!” she said, adding, “If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life.”
Progressive outlets like The Huffington Post were also pleased with the cover. “Tess Holliday is everything the fashion industry needs. She doesn’t conform to the (metaphorically and literally) narrow standard of beauty that’s been set by society, she’s a role model for others who have felt excluded in this way, and she’s downright honest,” said HuffPo’s Ron Dicker.
Holliday made waves when her #EffYourBeautyStandards campaign on Instagram went viral, racking up millions of copycat hashtags. “I created [the campaign] out of frustration,” the model told Cosmopolitan U.K. “I was angry and sad that people kept commenting on my pictures saying, ‘You’re too fat to wear that!’ or ‘Cover up! No one wants to see that!’ And then one night I was lying in bed and thought, ‘F*** that!’ So I posted an image with four photographs of myself wearing things that fat women are often told we ‘can’t wear’, and encouraged others to do the same.”
As the Pluralist reports, Holliday falls under the most severe of the CDC’s obesity categories, “morbidly obese.” “At a reported weight of 280 pounds and 5 feet, 5 inches tall, Holliday would fall under the most severe category of obesity, according to the Center for Disease Control’s Body Mass Index calculator,” the outlet reports.
An individual is considered to be morbidly obese if he or she is “100 pounds over his/her ideal body weight, has a BMI of 40 or more, or 35 or more and experiencing obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.” Among the health issues related to extreme obesity are Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure/heart disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, depression, and infertility.
But as people have raised concerns about glamorizing severely unhealthy lifestyles, industry leaders have embraced Holliday, suggesting that you can’t really tell somebody’s health from looking at them, even if they are morbidly obese.
“Holliday identifies as a fat woman; we chose to give her a platform because she has insightful things to say about thriving in a world that devalues bodies of size,” said Editor-in-chief of Self magazine Carolyn Kylstra, adding, “You don’t know how healthy or unhealthy a person is just by looking at them, you don’t know what their health goals and priorities are, and you don’t know what they’ve already done or are planning to do for their health going forward.”
Kylstra also slammed those who are skeptical of normalizing obesity for their “concern trolling,” which is “counterproductive” and “abusive.”
“And moreover, you should know that concern trolling—using a person’s perceived health to justify making them feel bad about themselves—isn’t just counterproductive, it’s abusive,” she wrote.
Unfortunately, the #EffYourBeautyStandards campaign will not shield you from heart disease.