Are you prejudice about body size?

The recent cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine continues to cause great divide amongst friends and colleagues and was featured on Good Morning Britain again this morning.

With journalist Piers Morgan openly stating it is unhealthy and dangerous for body positivity activist and model; Tess Daily to act as a role model and for Cosmopolitan (who have featured the model on their current issue of the magazine), who he states are both promoting morbid obesity.

Some of Piers Morgan comments on Twitter have included:

You’re 5ft 3in and 300lbs, which as any doctor will confirm, is morbidly obese.

“To promote the as a positive body image to help your millions of followers is dangerous, deluded nonsense. You need help, not praise.”

Piers has been accused of fat shaming.

My social media timelines have been divided, with some congratulating the magazine, others seeing it as a publicity stunt and irresponsible to glamourise obesity, feeling that impressionable readers will think her size is normal and want to mimic.

Magazines will always be aspirational, so there is an element of responsibility publishers have, but they are also educational. We do not all look the same and perhaps seeing more than one type of body shape might go some way to challenge restricted beauty standards.

But I wonder, is it glamorising obesity or is it just celebrating Tess Daily and her accomplishments and her own story and to raise awareness about some of the adversity, shaming, discrimination, trolling and fetishising she and other women face on a daily basis?

What I find most intriguing is that so many people in this debate struggle to see beyond her weight – that’s the very reason I think we need to see more body shapes in mainstream spaces and continue debating, so we stop shaming.

But with a recent study commissioned by E45 revealing that 67% of women surveyed agree self-confidence is the most important trait to have – yet only 27% believe they possess it more than half don’t feel comfortable in their own skin – I wonder if backlashes like this and strong opinions about what is and is not acceptable in terms of beauty, might go some way to explain why self-confidence in women is reportedly an all-time low.

The key component of body positivity is simply acceptance of your own body (as it is now) as well as the bodies of others.

I wonder if simply placing Tess on the front cover of a mainstream fashion magazine (an industry notorious for not being inclusive to more than one type of woman) is ‘parading’ her as a beauty standard, or simply an effort to celebrate her and her story and representation of more than one type of body? Is Piers suggesting people of a certain size should not be seen in the mainstream, hide and be ashamed of themselves?

I don’t see this cover choice and debate as a campaign to tell everyone to go and eat unhealthily and become obese, I see it as diversity in representation and perhaps more representation go some way to challenge our own prejudice and stop shaming women at varying ends of the spectrum who don’t meet beauty standard “ideals” continuously rammed on us.

What are your thoughts?

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