Two days ago on 29th August 2018, model and body positive activist Tess Holliday, graced the front page of Cosmopolitan UK website and the magazine is set to hit the shelves next month. Tess spoke openly about mental health and how her weight has attracted negative comments from bystanders and trolls on the internet.
Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Cosmopolitan featured someone on their cover that doesn’t fit the mould of ‘skinny celebrity’ is a breath of fresh air. I’m also a huge fan of anyone that openly talks about mental health and body image in mainstream media. Tess even started her ownhashtag #effyourbeautystandards, that has been used over 3 million times on Instagram, this hashtag started a movement to show that women didn’t have to be a certain size to love their body.
However, when will the time come that average sized women can grace the covers of magazines and be on the front page of fashion websites? It seems to me that the media only care about those that are either overweight or under.
The average size of women in the UK is a size 16 and the average height is 5ft 5 inches. So why does fashion magazines shy away from showing average women, the women that are a size 16 and are 5ft 5 or smaller? I’m a size 12 and 5ft 2 inches, if I walked in to a modelling agency, I can assure you they would swiftly turn me around and walk me back out of the doors. No wonder Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorders in girls between the ages of 12 and 17 is so high. I think of 12 year old me, on the edge of a very slippery slope of an Eating Disorder, looking at magazines and thinking “I don’t look like any of these girls, is there something wrong with me?”. We need to start showcasing every day normal in all types of media. We need to see normal yummy mummies with their beautiful stretch marks, not the likes of Kim Kardashian and her lasered off stretch marks. We need to see people with cellulite on their bodies, not all the airbrushed, fake images we see on clothing websites. Also we need to see average Men, without someone calling them out for having a ‘dad bod’.
Users on Twitter are praising Cosmopolitan (rightly so), one user wrote “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” and another “How many young women would have been out enjoying life knowing they’re beautiful as they are, rather than crying over why they don’t look like they “should”, if photos like this were more prevalent?”. I 100% agree with these twitter users, but I just want to see more women who look like me grace the covers of magazines and other media sources.
Is that really too much to ask?