Last week on social media I noticed a post about size 20 model Tess Holliday. There she was, covered in only a white sheet, a tattooed vision of chunky-thighed, red-haired, confident pregnant woman. Most commenters were praising her for having a positive body image and for promoting the notion that ‘big is beautiful’. However there were a few in the Health Camp, claiming that her fame was dangerous and that young, impressionable women might think it is ok to be unhealthy, like she must be.
Then there was a story about Australian fitness model, Chontel Duncan, who maintained her six-pack abs throughout her pregnancy. Mostly she faced criticism, the masses were concerned for the life of her unborn child, worrying that she couldn’t possibly be providing the required nourishment to her baby and that her intensive exercise regime might in some way be ‘harming’ the baby. Thankfully a few people were in Camp Brain and realised that she was a picture of health and had simply maintained her cracking figure through exercise and healthy eating.
So, on the one hand, we have Tess. According to Wikipedia she’s been a size 16 or above since she was 15 years old, she hikes and works out with a health trainer, presumably continuing this while pregnant, and people adore her. Then we have Chontel, a slender fitness model, former fighter and gym-owner who works out (as she always has) while pregnant and people condemn her for not putting her baby first. They are both models. Both pregnant. Both exercising. Both proudly sharing photographs of their bodies on social media.
Could it really be as crude as this: People love Tess because she makes them feel better about themselves and Chontel does the opposite? If so, isn’t it sad that we can’t all just appreciate what we’ve been given or work with what we have until we achieve the body we are looking for?? Yes, yes, it’s complicated – there’s constant conflicting advice on what we should and shouldn’t eat, there are differing views on the best forms of exercise and then, you know, there are Mars Bars and freshly baked bread.
I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure if you eat a little less crap and move around a little bit more (unless you have an underlying health issue) you will see some positive results.
Oh and also, it really is none of our business what Tess and Chontel do, is it? I agree that Tess is probably putting her life in danger with her high BMI. But apparently I put my life at risk when I eat bacon. Eating bacon is my choice. I shouldn’t think Tess gives a shit if I eat it or not. Being ‘plus-sized’ (what the actual f*ck does that even mean?!?) is Tess Holliday’s choice and I’m presuming she’s pretty happy with it as she’s turned it into a career. Personally, I think Chontel looks incredible and considering how hard she works out, she bloody deserves to. She’s probably more likely to be around in 30 years to meet her Grandchildren than Tess is, hell she’ll probably still have an impressive six pack then too.
There will always be haters – and as (the gorgeous) TayTay says “Haters gonna hate”. The biggest problem comes when the hater is staring back at you when you look in the mirror. What I love about Tess and Chontel is that they are happy with themselves. Instead of envying their abs, criticising their curves or otherwise, let’s rejoice in the fact they’ve found happiness and let’s hope future generations will look at their photos and notice the smiles on their faces before they spot anything else – and that they are then inspired to nail body confidence for themselves too.