Beauty is a very subjective thing. We can look at the same person and not react to their looks in the same way. It depends on our culture, the media we consume, the societal standards we’ve been exposed to and the way all that combines to form a basis for our own preferences.

Tess Holliday is famous for challenging those very standards, with her high cheekbones, doe eyes, auburn hair and killer pout gracing her U.S. size 22 frame. She is undeniably gorgeous but also appeals on a different level; she is subversive. She is literally known for her catch-cry of “Eff your beauty standards”.

However, not everyone is comfortable with the idea that you can be beautiful at any size. Ashy Bines, a diet and exercise guru of sorts (I knew her best for plagiarising recipes), is not happy about Tess Holliday’s size and posted a long rant about it on Instagram. She reportedly blocked Tess and her fiancee beforehand, so they couldn’t even reply. Putting aside that oddly childish move, what Bines said was that she is happy that Tess Holliday feels good about herself BUT she is unhealthy, because fat. She is a poor role model, because fat. Essentially, she is not really beautiful, because fat. She, Ashy Bines, is simply concerned. To prove that she knows thin can be unhealthy too, she posted a shot of Tess Holliday next to a shot of Ana Carolina Reston.

I know this may cause people to get upset. But something id like to speak about and don’t mean to offend anyone at all please know that and anyone who attacks me or calls me horrible names you will be blocked. I might not be perfect at wording the message I’m trying to get across but my intentions are not evil. . The girl on the left is obviously underweight – yes she maybe genetically small but it’s pretty obvious she is not healthy and has not been eating a well balanced diet and would be on 500 or less calories a day to achieve her body – nor is she a good role model for young women. I hope she has some support around her to help her change her lifestyle . . The girl on the right I’ve seen in recent articles and apparently is an ” inspiration” to the younger generation – I also think she is not a good role model for young girls. . Thin girls are slammed ALOT these days but females who are carrying more weight than what they should for there bodies, organs , moods , bones , cells etc to be ” healthy” are now inspirations because they are confident in their swimsuit? . I think it’s FANTASTIC she feels comfortable but at the same time I don’t think it’s a healthy body image that should be applauded. . It’s not about having a 6 pack or no cellulite on your booty but HEALTH is not either of these photos. . Now I’m not saying I’m perfect or anything like that but I just think it’s sad that women who are obviously eating a lot more than what they need and not moving their bodies to be fit , strong and healthy are getting praise. I’m not saying either are ” ugly or ANYTHING like that ” just don’t think either are healthy role models and shouldn’t be given praise. . There is no ” perfect” body and no two bodies are the same BUT it is obvious when someone is living an extreme lifestyle one end or the other and I hope girls find other role models to help them achieve a healthy lifestyle. It’s always my goal for women to FEEL and look their best and teaching them balance and a healthy active happy lifestyle. . Remember ANYONE who is making rude nasty comments think before you type as you will be blocked.

A photo posted by Snapchat : ashybines1 (@ashybines) on

The inclusion of the picture of Ana Carolina Reston, who Bines didn’t actually name, with the hope that she has support, was probably meant to illustrate her concern. However, Reston sadly passed away in 2006 due to complications from anorexia. If she was really concerned, perhaps she’d have found that out?

If Ashy Bines was really was just concerned about Tess Holliday’s well-being, why preemptively block her and then list her concerns publicly, instead of privately? If she was really concerned for the health of others and really sure that the best way to express it was posting about it on a public forum, where are her letters to all the other public figures out there that might be unhealthy? Where, for example, are her public posts imploring President Obama, Kate Moss, Shane Warne and the Olsen twins to give up smoking? Where are her impassioned pleas to public figures that binge-drink or take drugs? Why is it only an overweight woman that worries her? Where are her public posts addressing male public figures about their weight?

Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tabloid headline devoted to a male celebrity gaining a few kilos. And I’m glad- I don’t want to. I am tired enough of reading or hearing about female celebrities and their weight. Whether  it’s a critical analysis of their post-partum bodies, a horrified response to a paparazzi shot of a woman in a swimsuit or a scathing critique of a red carpet outfit, I’m over it. Men are certainly not held to the same standards of appearance that women are. Standards that are unattainable for most people.

I could list some research here showing that fat isn’t always unhealthy. I could try to apply it to Tess Holliday and defend her via the fact that she may well be quite a healthy, larger person. But I’m not going to because I’m not a doctor and even if I was, I’m not Tess’s doctor. There’s no way I can tell, by looking at pictures online, how healthy she is or isn’t. And frankly, it’s none of my business, anyway.

tess holliday

Let’s get real. Celebrity or not, we shouldn’t be conflating health with beauty.  They aren’t the same thing.

Ashy Bines relies on selling diets and exercise programs to make her living, and that’s fine- but it’s not Tess Holliday’s job to change her appearance to make people like Bines feel comfortable or validated. It’s her job to model clothes, not to model someone else’s idea of what healthy should look like, and she does it well. It would be nice if she could do that without the concern-trolling she and others outside of the accepted dress size range are so often subjected to.


#IBOT @ Essentially Jess.

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