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Plus-Size Model Teaches Us To Love The Skin We’re In -The Subtle Art Of Loving Your Fat Body

Controversial model, Tess Holliday, has constantly remained on the headlines for her outspoken views and attention-grabbing outfits.

Recently, in an interview with TODAY Show host Hoda Kotb, Tess Holliday discussed loving the skin you are breathing in. Mississippi-born model,  Tess, is a forerunner in the movement to encourage positive body image. Tess revealed to Hoda about how she cultivated self-confidence, after undergoing a painful childhood which was full of bullying and abuse. “I’m the most stubborn person on the face of the planet,” she told.

Recently Tess was titled as one of the TODAY’s style heroes in the segment– “LOVE THE SKIN YOU’RE IN – Embracing the body positive movement”. About style she says, “Pick out what you like and you put it on, who cares what anybody says.”

According to Tess Holiday’s her motto for life is, “You can eat your feelings, but guac is extra.” She is a real badass inspiration for everyone who feels inferior about their body, and her book is a source of inspiration that makes you realize that anything is possible if you wish to make it happen. If you are in need of a dose of outfit inspiration and encouragement on self-image, refer her book: “The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl.”

Let’s Take A Deeper Look on Body Shaming

Have you ever noticed how often we are told to make changes in our appearance?  Beauty Magazines constantly gives us tips on how to lose weight in “15 days,” become slimmer “instantly,” or hide our physical “imperfections” without actually knowing anything about us, much less about our appearance.  This is one fine example of body-shaming, which can be seen everywhere.

 A lot of sitcoms often use overweight characters’ body as a base to make their joke appear funnier.  It has become a popular culture to criticize features of our bodies as some kind of bonding experience with our friends – if we all criticize our bodies; it somehow makes us feel bonded and united.  Body-shaming (criticizing other as well as yourself because of some features of physical appearance) often leads to a vicious cycle of criticism and judgment.  Constantly forced messages from the advertisements and from each other in general, imply that we need to change and that we bother more to care about looking smaller, slimmer, and tanner.  And if we don’t bother much to change ourselves then we come under the risk of being the target by someone else’s body-shaming comments.

How can body-shaming be manifested:

1) Criticizing your own looks, through a judgment and comparison to another person. example.: “I’m so ugly in comparison to her”, “look, how broad my shoulders are.”

2) Criticizing other person’s appearance in front of them. Example: “With those thighs, you are never going to find a date.”)

3) Criticizing other person’s appearance without their knowledge. Example: “Did you saw what she was wearing today in the club?; “At least you don’t look like her!”.

No matter how this appears but it often leads to shame and comparison, and perpetuates the idea that men and women should be judged mainly on their physical appearance.

This leads to a thought-provoking question that if it has such harsh outcome, then why body-shaming so popular? For example–  Why, when we are annoyed, upset, or intimidated by someone, we start criticizing their appearance?  Like, “Whatever, she’s ugly,” often used as a go-to defense in these situations, particularly among young adults and during adolescence.  In some ways, it feels quite easy to shoot for something that will hurt them, such as targeting physical appearance, instead of expressing what’s really going on inside them, emotionally.  Expressing the feelings in this form, “I’m really hurt by how my best friend treated me in school,” or “I’m afraid of losing this relationship” opens our heart and makes us feel more vulnerable, and hence feels easier to bury beneath the body-shaming comments that flow in our mind.

How can we challenge and manage this behaviour?  In situations such as those listed above, expressing our true feelings rather than the physical criticisms is the first great step.  While a study has found that, several patients find it hard to identify means to express their frustration without using body-shaming since this has turned out to be an almost automatic response.

Practice identifying why you are upset about the situation.  For instance, it is unlikely that you are mad at your friend because she is breaking out, and more likely that you are upset about the miscommunication or feeling of rejection.  Develop the habit of thinking about it, and gradually, verbalizing it.

Identify who in your life is body-positive or even body neutral.  Think of individuals who celebrate their body for what it does for them, and individuals who refuse to comment on others person’s physical appearances.  Spending time with such people can be really helpful while you are struggling with your own body-shaming, and help you see yourself – and others in a more positive way.

Confront those who perpetuate body shaming.  Once you have become aware of your own body-shaming habit, you can notice how your friends, family, and co-workers do it with you.  “Talk to them”.  Discuss how it bothers you and also help them to see how it is hurtful to them.

Find something you “Like” about your body.  We spend a lot of time witnessing advertisements about how to make your eyelashes longer and how to get the whiter teeth that it would be better to counter some of that by cherishing what we have.  Maybe, despite your body image struggle, you will still love your new hairstyle.  Maybe you have noticed how strong you feel with balanced eating.  Better find something physical or nonphysical that makes you “love you” and try to celebrate it each day.

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