I’ve recently written a few body acceptance articles which highlight the need to celebrate our own unique bodies and to send out a strong clear message that our bodies are none of anybody else’s business.
The reason I write these articles, and the reason that I will continue to write them, is because so many people in the world still think that it is OK to speak out and critically judge another person’s body, seemingly regardless of the affect that those comments may have on them or maybe they just couldn’t care less.
Another thing that people seem to mistake is that the most important type of health is the health of the mind. By judging a person’s body from the outside, it is entirely impossible to judge what exactly is going on on the inside. People of all shapes and sizes can have healthy or unhealthy bodies. People of all shapes and sizes can have healthy or unhealthy minds.
What people, who lash out negative comments, often fail to realise is that their comments say far more about themselves than they do about the person they are talking about. They also don’t realise the harmful influence that these type of comments can have on other people and the crippling effect of vicious words on a person’s self-esteem.
It is far easier said than done to just ignore comments, walk on by, hold the head high and carry on as though nothing has been said. The harsh reality is that, for most of us, for every 100 positive comments we receive, it is the one negative comment that will resound loudly in our heads.
Of course, we can say “F*ck it” and walk on by but when those comments repeat again and again and are coming from all angles, it is not always possible to keep darting the arrows and remove the ones that hit hard from our backs.
It really is time that the world focused less on what other people are doing with their health and their bodies, and focus on themselves—the one person that matters. Sitting behind a keyboard lashing out viscously does not achieve anything other than projecting hate from one person to another, to another and the cycle continues. The cycle ends with the person who reaches a stage where they feel they can’t take it any more and they slowly lose confidence—with that, their ability to see themselves as beautiful, fades. It takes a very strong person to fight back constantly.
Bullying happens every time someone chooses to target another person in a way that is intended to hurt, shame, belittle, judge and ultimately can become highly detrimental to their well-being.
Tess Holliday describes herself as a body activist and regularly speaks out about the impact of the cruel bullying she endured throughout her childhood years and how it caused her to eventually drop out of school. What Tess did not expect, was that the bullying would not end with adolescence.
So far she has graced front covers of Vogue and SLiNK magazines and she has also been named by Vogue Italia as one of the 6 top plus size models in the world.
In an interview with SLiNK magazine Tess explains:
“When I was little I’ve always been very open with my body. You don’t realise there’s an issue with your body until someone tells you there is, until someone tells you you’re fat.”
Tess is regularly receives nasty comments from social media users who target her directly with negative comments about her looks and her weight. She wrote on her Facebook page that she works out with a trainer between three and five times per week, alongside swimming, walking and hiking, however she still receives hundreds of negative comments every day.
To empower other women Tess chooses to speak out about her experiences and to show them that, regardless of other people’s comments, judgments and actions, it is still possible to achieve body confidence. Tess also started a body acceptance movement on Instagram in 2013 with the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards.
“I hope this makes you realize that it’s okay to be yourself, even if you happen to exist in a fat body. I’m sexy, confident and give no f*cks. Also, f*ck anyone for saying otherwise.” ~ Tess Holliday wrote in a post on Instagram, next to an image of herself dressed only in black underwear.
Today Tess took to Facebook to show her gratitude for all the support she has received:
“I couldn’t sleep so I was scrolling though IG, FB & Twitter & couldn’t help but feel so much gratitude for how supportive you all are. Not just of me, but Effyourbeautystandards too! I wish I could hug you all & thank you for changing my life—for allowing me to live my dream. Social media is how I met my fiancé, became a model, provide for my son, realized my worth and made friends all around the world. Sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve all of this but I know that’s the wounded girl I used to be telling me that. How I wish that hurt 12 year old could have known who I would have become… That she was going to be loved by many but most importantly she would learn to love herself. It’s not easy being in the spotlight, especially the past 6 months. But with your words & encouragement, I’ve made it through stronger. Yes, you! It’s not much, but thank you. Thank you for loving me.”
In my opinion, beauty is not what is seen on the outside. The essence of beauty is far more than that—it is deep within the soul and it seeps out and is seen in our expression.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Screenshot from the video