Come on… how good are our headlines lately?

A little over a week ago, Tess Holliday dented Instagram with her “BRB Promoting Obesity” post. She didn’t break it… but she’s definitely making strides to, a la the Kardashians. Hey, maybe she’ll break the “World Record Egg” post for the most engagement on Instagram. She sure is controversial. “World Record Tess…?” There’s a reason that Egg and Tess both have one “E” in them, right?

Wow… are you still reading? You’re a trooper. So, what happened that got me all excited? Tess Holliday posted an incredible picture drinking a tiny little Starbucks drink and the caption on Instagram read “BRB… promoting obesity.” Okay… not all that revolutionary for Tess. In fact, it’s about her normal level of snark. So, while we love it like we love any Tess Holliday post that is kept in perspective… why did this one make us journalistically swoon so hard?

Well… the answers are threefold:

  1. This post hits so many topics such as health at every size, weight discrimination on the internet, and the constant scrutiny of Tess
  2. She inadvertently began a movement where others did the same
  3. The trolls came out, as trolls do… in fact… come out…

So, look. You know how we feel about Tess. She’s our flawed hero. But, she’s the one we have. When Tess talks, people move in a direction. And you can’t deny it. Neither can you… or you… or you… Amiright? I’m right, for sure. Tess Holliday is polarizing.

The “Promoting Obesity” Debate
Tess Holliday has been a polarizing figure since her debut.

So, when Tess starts talking about health issues in a sarcastic way, other media outlets start to take notice. So do people in the plus universe (yes, even you… person who says that they don’t follow her). It’s important that Tess, who is generally a size 24 (which we can debate for hours on, given her robustness and height and the way she looks in various photos) speaks to health, weight, size, etc. Honestly, anything. Give us a hard time if you want on this. Tell us that Tess’s business practices are not sound or she’s too conservative (borderline or actually racist, we’ve seen the clip, too). And, we don’t know that we can even disagree with her history. But….

Tess makes a splash. And, you can’t deny that.

Speaking of splash, do you know what else Tess does? She gets people to emulate her. She’s polarizing, yes. And, for those who hate her. There are so many who love her. Hey, we can’t even deny that we wind up in a similar boat. Do you know how many people stop reading when they find out that a cisgender straight white male writes these articles? Or even worse when I misstep and say something I was ignorant on. Yikes!

Regardless, people trust us to bring them plus universe news. And, they trust Tess to represent them as best she can. And, when she does, they emulate, describe, and try to do what she does. So, after the “BRB… promoting obesity” post, it was common to see a bunch of plus women getting involved with the “promoting obesity” movement she didn’t mean to start. I even used some “BRB” captions on Instagram. And some of our “Official Bold Babes” started “promoting obesity” on their posts, as well. We’ve been using the #promotingobesity hashtag as well as one of our favorites, #fatisnotaviolation!

But, besides the typical dark side to the controversial conversations that Tess brings to the table of plus news, there’s also a really crummy darkness that we need to talk about: Trolls.

Internet trolls have been stepping out even more, now that the “promoting obesity” conversation has been going on. And, they are really passionate about being Instagram medical professionals. And, they really like to speak without checking all of the facts. So, it’s been quite an interesting few weeks. Look, we know trolls are everywhere. And, Tess deals with them more than anyone. In fact, hers are media moguls, radio personalities, talk show hosts, etc. Ours are generally just teenagers in basements.

Here’s why any trolls are valuable: because they continue the conversation on social media. To be clear, we hate trolls. And, we are so conflicted as to what to do with them. Do we block? Delete? Engage? Not engage? It’s really a tough thing to navigate. But, we do know that it’s important that we address them. Educate them. Try to shed light on them so that people know they are there. We even looked to some of you for help on how we should handle it! And we loved all of your responses.

So, why is Tess Holliday “promoting obesity” important? Because the platform we are building, the plus universe that’s growing, the normalization of plus sizes, all need to accelerate. And, while we need to create a safe space for consumers to consume plus media, it’s important that we push the boundaries once in a while. Love her or hate her, Ms. Holliday does that.

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