Tess Holliday Posted a Nearly Nude Pregnancy Photo to Make a Point About Fat Shaming
Tess Holliday is known for promoting body-positive fashion and clapping back at fat-shaming trolls. On Saturday, she did it again with a nearly nude photo from April, when she was seven months pregnant, posting the image on Instagram with the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards.
"Just because we're plus size, doesn't mean we have to prove that we're healthy," she captioned the Instagram photo, "just as someone who is smaller than us or average size doesn't have to prove they are healthy. We should be able to exist in our bodies."
Holliday's Instagram feed is full of feminist reflections on motherhood, which challenge everything from gender stereotypes for baby clothes to our culture's obsession with the post-baby body.
In April, Holliday, who is now almost nine months pregnant, posted a photo of herself in a lacy bra. In her post, she wrote about how common it is for people to fat-shame pregnant women and use pregnancy as a time to police women's bodies.
"People still think it's okay to comment on my body: 'you don't look pregnant,' 'you must be [having] quadruplets,' 'you are putting your baby at risk' & a slew of other uneducated statements that are very far from my reality," Holliday wrote in the caption for her baby bump selfie.
"When 'celebrities' are pregnant in the press, they look glamorous, toned & are eager to talk about how they are going to get the baby weight off... that's not real life, & it's not for most women."
Holliday, who wears a size 22, isn't unique among millennial mothers. According to a study by Washington State University assistant professor Deborah Christel, more than 50% of American and Canadian women wear a size 14 or higher, which the fashion industry calls "plus size."
Online communities like Plus Size Birth are popping up with articles on everything from plus-size maternity clothes to healthy living tips for new and expecting mothers who don't fit the beauty standards of mainstream maternity industries, where vendors sell maternity shirts with slogans like "wake me up when I'm skinny."
Despite the slew of sexist comments Holliday's posts regularly receive on social media, many young mothers are inspired by her honest, take-no-prisoners attitude toward pregnancy and body image. In Holliday's own words: "It's also okay to tell someone to fuck off when they give you unsolicited advice about what's 'best' for you & your baby."