Why I Couldn't Get Excited For Tess Holliday, The Size 22 Model

Last week, the news of the largest-set supermodel to ever be signed to a major modeling agency went viral. Her name? Tess Holliday. Tess is a size 22, she’s clearly proud of the body she puts on display, and her looks (from hair to makeup to lingerie) are nothing short of fierce. Nevertheless, the whole thing bothered me.

I kinda sorta grazed the issue in last week's "I Can't," but I also wrote out an entirely separate response post to it that I tried to pawn off on Elite Daily, but they were like "Nah but thx." So, I'm going to share it here because it's important to me.


And not for the shallow reasons you’d think, either. It’s not because I don’t think she deserves it. It’s not that I believe the profession of modeling should be reserved solely for the insect-thin beauties of the world. In fact, my argument as to why Tess’s big break rubbed me the wrong way is the opposite of all that.

I’m sick of beauty being represented so… extremely. Think about it – with modeling, there is no in-between. It’s either impossibly skinny, extremely tall girls who can literally make even your grossest, oldest, most unshapely piece of clothing look couture. Or it’s girls like Tess who are the complete and total polar opposite of that, but thought of as just as beautiful because of how fearless they are.

What about every other woman? What about the in-betweeners? The “average”? The not super skinny, but definitely not plus-size or overweight for their height?

When the hell did the portrayal of a typical, American woman get so black and white, so starkly acute, so off track?

Good for all the drop dead gorgeous Victoria’s Secret swimsuit models of the world. And great for all the IDGAF, I’m still fabulous Tess Holliday’s of the world, too. But I want to see average.

Show me a 5’4”, 140-150lb female splashing around crystal clear Fiji waters in a to-die-for bikini I just have to have, right now.

Show me a 5’6”, big breasted but no-butt-having girl rocking a pair of skinny jeans and an impossibly chic blazer to complete a seriously coveted yet realistic look.

Show me a model-tall lady with athletic AF quads, smaller boobs, and a little bit of a tummy looking adorably casual in boyfriend jeans and a tee.

Show me every woman in every way you can. Show me something I can actually relate to. Show me myself.


Of course, it would take days, weeks, probably months and years to list out an example for each and every possible body type in existence. I get that. With an infinite array of body types and no two being the same, there’s no good way to really represent every woman the way we wish the world could. But, the media can try. It can try harder to make better decisions when it comes to selecting females that are supposed to serve as archetypes for how "real girls" look. Because, let’s face it: the majority of us are neither as thin as we’d like to be nor an exorbitant weight that’s much too much. We’re just stuck somewhere in the middle, trying to be better, but usually giving into pizza and wine because #duh.

Show us a decent looking girl, with a healthy bit of cellulite, and a really cute hair-do sitting on a couch with her friends, downing wine and passing around a tray of cookies.

Show us a size 6 or 8 or 10, scantily clad in this year’s sexiest swimsuit trend, flaunting her stuff at the pool while men of all varieties ogle her.

Show us pears, apples, hourglasses, squares, bananas, grapefruits, strawberries, and even pizza shaped women (huge boobs, smaller lower body) being awesome, getting stuff done, and not being so thin or so big that it’s the first thing anyone would ever notice about them.

Stop perpetuating women’s innate ability to stiffly define themselves as either “skinny” or “fat,” and start showing us who we really are.

Ok. That's all.



emma1 Comment