Is People Magazine Glamorizing Obesity…

Is People Magazine Glamorizing Obesity… May 20, 2015

… On the cover of People Magazine is model Tess Holliday. The headline heralds, “The World’s First Size 22 Super Model, From Bullied Teen to Plus Size Star.”


As everyone else celebrates this new diversity in the fashion industry, I can’t help but feel alarmed that so many people are ok with a 5’5″ tall woman weighing 260 lbs and being a size 22.

At 5’9″ I’m 20 lbs heavier than she is and a size larger.

When I look at her modeling portfolio I see a beautiful woman with a lot of spunk and a funky sense of style… a beautiful woman who’s going to have a lot of physical ailments in 10 years time.

She’s 100 lbs heavier than I was at her age and I’m already experiencing back pain, knee pain, sleep apnea, pre-diabetes, poor circulation, and diminished immune system due to my obesity. There is physically so much my weight has prevented me from doing. Sounds sexy, right?

As beautiful as Ms. Holliday is, she isn’t plus size. She’s morbidly obese and I’m very uncomfortable with such a deadly weight being glamorized and celebrated.

I don’t want to hear it’s ok to be this weight. I don’t want my own morbid obesity to be acceptable. If I accept it I’ll do little to change it and my life literally depends on me doing something about my weight.

Being obese is deadly and no manner of “changing attitudes” is going to suddenly lower my blood sugar levels and cure me of my ailments.

There is nothing comfortable or sexy about being a few stones away from immobility. When I see pictures of Ms. Holliday I see a bright young girl celebrate the fact that she’s physically destroying herself.

It’s like the fashion industry only knows extremes – the extreme malnourished size zero model or the extreme obese model. Neither are healthy standards.

I agree that there are different standards of beauty and a thousand different body types and that each person is deserving of human dignity and should never be mistreated or abused simply based on their appearance.

I sincerely hope my words aren’t misconstrued as mistreatment or hate. They are meant as deep concern.

We have an obesity epidemic in this country and pretending that obesity is OK and acceptable it isn’t going to make anyone less obese or suddenly healthy.

A large part of being obese is living in denial.

It was only when I stopped lying to myself and telling myself that I was OK did I finally take the steps necessary for change. I’m concerned that these efforts to normalize obesity just fuels the denial of those struggling with weight issues.

I am trying my damnedest to change and the least encouraging thing you could tell me is that my weight is fine or even sexy. I’m old enough to know a lie when I hear one.

It’s not self hatred. It’s self awareness. It’s actually more accepting for me to acknowledge that I have a problem so I can go about the business of fixing it. Lying to me and to the rest of the people struggling with obesity does little to help them change.

It was only when I started to love myself did I find the courage to try and lose the weight. It was when I hated myself most that I pretended I was OK with being as fat as I am. Continuing on another day at 280 lbs and telling myself I’m OK is not loving myself. It’s destroying myself one pound at a time.

Put that on the cover of People Magazine.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!