In their first ever digital cover, SELF Magazine is featuring model and fat-positivity activist Tess Holliday as part of a powerful statement about body positivity.
SELF is a website geared towards improving people’s knowledge of health, nutrition and wellness. Their website lays special emphasis on “inclusivity, accuracy and empathy“.The editor in chief of the magazine wrote in an Instagram post announcing the cover, “Holliday identifies as a fat woman; we chose to give her a platform because she has insightful things to say about thriving in a world that devalues bodies of size. We also chose to feature her because size representation is necessary, especially for a national health media brand that can help guide the conversation about what it means to be healthy and how to make health accessible.”
She continued on to make a statement about equating health with appearance, saying that it is unfair to assume all knowledge of a person’s health-based goals can be gauged from their weight. She wrote, “You don’t know how healthy or unhealthy a person is just by looking at them, you don’t know what their health goals and priorities are, and you don’t know what they’ve already done or are planning to do for their health going forward. And moreover, you should know that concern trolling—using a person’s perceived health to justify making them feel bad about themselves—isn’t just counterproductive, it’s abusive.”
Holliday shared the cover herself, writing that it was surprising even to her to see a bigger body than usual on the cover of a magazine, “I’m over the moon to finally share- This is totally surreal to see a fat body on the cover of a health magazine.” Her shared cover has over 92,000 likes on Instagram already with hundreds of people sharing their opinions in the comments below and on other forums.
While many appreciated step forward by a health magazine, many responded negatively to the cover as well, picking out issues with Holliday’s weight and her personal history.
Tess Holliday is not inspirational. She quite honestly disgusts me. Being overweight is not healthy or something to be proud of. Not sorry.
— Kara Hodge (@kararhodge) June 27, 2018
I don't like Tess Holliday. So if anyone is judging me for not sharing a cover with a scamming ass binch on it that's why.
— Rachel Duncan ? (@raetheforce) June 30, 2018
Tess holliday has been racist on multiple occasions and then blocked the people who called her out. She also scammed a bunch of people and only sorted it all out because they got a group of people together and threatened to sue https://t.co/fib90AZuLl
— zoey ramone (@leninsgf) June 30, 2018
You would want to see a model/actress with anorexia or bulimia get help and recover, right? Why is the same standard and concern not applied to Tess Holliday? She’s not just a little chunky, she’s morbidly obese and that’s a serious health problem we should NOT celebrate.
— Katherine_Kardashian (@KVerdaris1234) June 29, 2018
Just read through the Instagram comments on @SELFmagazine latest cover ft @Tess_Holliday and it's just a reminder that being fat makes you a target from all sides. They hate us. Fitness people, former fat people, doctors, nurses…
They hate us. They don't even know us. ? pic.twitter.com/yNNUE2QhV8
— Tamara Canup (@TamaraCanup) June 26, 2018
Speaking as someone who has a young daughter, I would not want her to see this and think it’s perfectly fine to be that big. I mean, confidence is great but the bigger you are the more issues you have…joint issues, heart disease. It’s not okay. Take responsibility.
— K E E L E Y (@pizzaqueen126) June 29, 2018
Tess Holliday is the author of The Not So Subtle Art of Being A Fat Girl.