Last year, when Meghan Trainor’s hit song, “All About That Bass”, started to take off, many predicted that this was the start of something very new. Think about it—it’s a song all about girl power and loving yourself. It’s an important message, but who could have predicted it would be one that millions of listeners would latch onto?
The crazy success of this song tells us two things: 1) “All About That Bass” is ridiculously catchy, and 2) the process of rethinking body image is something young people are ready to start talking about. For a long time, girls have had an image of beauty to look up to that is tall, slender, and extremely difficult to achieve. While models like Victoria Beckham and Heidi Klum are undoubtedly beautiful, agencies and advertisers have tried to make us feel like their bodies were the only type of beauty.
In recent weeks, the modelling world has taken a huge step in a new, progressive direction with the signing of Tess Holliday to major agency, MiLk Model Management. The buzz around Tess, though, is not about her fiery red hair or her many proudly-displayed tattoos—it’s about her weight.
At a size 22, Tess is the only model of her size to currently be signed to a major modelling agency. Her casting not only a personal success for her, it’s a success for women everywhere who have questioned their beauty and value.
On social media, Tess has started a movement called #EffYourBeautyStandards in an attempt to get people to start seeing themselves as beautiful regardless of whether or not they fit the perfect body stereotype. The inspiring thing about Tess’s movement is that, unlike Trainor’s pop hit, she makes no references to any “skinny b******”. She has stated that her message is “all about loving your body regardless of your size and chasing your dreams.”
So what does it all mean? Could we really be slowly and steadily heading toward a place where womens’ beauty is determined by their individual confidence and personality rather than a dress size? Could we get to a place where we’re not meticulously checking our weight every morning and reflecting on it every time we want to eat a bagel?
There are still hurdles to jump. Many have criticized Tess for allegedly celebrating obesity and glamourizing a body type that is simply not healthy. The question of which to prioritize first—health or happiness—is a valid one, and it’s one that doesn’t have a clear answer.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that Tess works out with a trainer four days a week. Perhaps it’s even more important to note that any more details about her personal life or habits are simply not the public’s business. She is a woman. She is large. She is beautiful.
Likewise, perhaps we can start the spring semester off right by looking in the mirror and remembering that we, too, are beautiful. With this movement of body acceptance and love, try to start every day keeping Tess’s advice in mind: “Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people who support you. It’s crucial to your happiness and your well-being. Never compare yourself to others, and celebrate what makes you, YOU.”
Be supportive of yourself, cheer on all your fellow women, and make this semester your happiest yet!
Quotes courtesy of: buzzfeed.com
Picture courtesy of: Google