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'Being obese isn't OK': Model's mag cover sparks angry comments

Yahoo Lifestyle

Tess Holliday is unapologetic about her body. The first size-22 model to land a contract with a major modeling agency, Holliday had a 2016 People magazine cover that put her at the front and center of the body positivity movement. Now, the model is making waves with her new Cosmopolitan UK cover, which features her in a green swimsuit.

The October feature has Yahoo readers raging about the Cosmo girl, who wrote on Twitter: “If I saw a body like mine on this magazine when I was a young girl, it would have changed my life.”

Holliday has become an outspoken advocate of the movement championed by celebrities like Lena Dunham and Ashley Graham. Several readers left messages of support in the comments section of the original Huffington Post article. 

“A beautiful lady,” wrote one commenter. “She looks good,” said another, “very nice.”

Fans of Holliday’s on Twitter also shared Cosmo’s love:

“Trying to figure out how different my life and self-image would be if I had grown up seeing women of all sizes represented like this,” Twitter user Sarah Hannon wrote.

“Some people’s stories and strength of spirit are too important to ignore,” Cosmo editor-in-chief Farrah Storr said. “Tess Holliday’s story is about so much more than her body. Please read it, pass it onto women you know and realise that the secret to surviving in a tough world is by being even tougher.”

“@Tess_Holliday bout to have me walking into all my auditions today in a green bathing suit!!!!” said actress and writer Danielle Pinnock. “SNATCH OUR EDGES SIS! I AM ON THE 405 SCREAMMINNGGGG RIGHT NOW. If I saw this kind of Representation when I was 13 I would be untouchable! Keep paving the way Ms. Tess!”

Some wished they’d seen figures like Holliday’s respected when they were growing up, like author and yoga instructor Sasha Brown-Worsham, who wrote: “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.”

Most Yahoo commenters did not, however, share this sentiment. Many worried about the new prevailing narrative they saw the cover spreading: “The term ‘body positivity’ has been appropriated by the obese to allow for them to normalize their narrative, which states that being obese is OK,” one commenter wrote. “It isn’t OK. It isn’t healthy.”

“Remember the Marlboro Man and how it influenced society,” another reader warned. “This is a similar example, promoting unhealthy lifestyles.” Several readers outlined what an unhealthy lifestyle could result in: “I’m not saying she needs to look like a supermodel, but she’s really only a champion of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and many other avoidable conditions.”

They came after her tattoos, too: “So many, such as what she has, is overwhelming, and detracts from a person’s total appearance,” one reader said.

Some Yahoo readers pleaded with the magazine: “The media is still glorifying an unhealthy lifestyle as being ‘body positive,’ which is just as bad as glorifying anorexia” — while others proposed a solution: “How about pushing healthy looking models that are neither emaciated nor obese? You know, try to appeal to the average woman?”

But others jumped in to defend Holliday and her lifestyle: “Only two people have the right to tell her what to do: her and her doctor,” one reader said. “Why all the hate?” another asked.

(From left) Hearst Magazines Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles, model Tess Holliday, psychologist Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, and Girlboss editorial director Jerico Mandybur at a panel in New York last year. (Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Girlboss Media)

The overriding sentiment?

“Too much focus on BMI, which is important but shouldn’t be the only way to consider whether it is right for someone who relishes who they are from being on the cover,” said Twitter user Jasmin Shepherd. “Aspiration comes in all shapes, sizes, colours, types etc etc.”

What do you think?

Let us know in the comments.

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