Pacified by Perfunctory “BoPo” Efforts.

Size 22 model Tess Holiday is on the October cover of Cosmo UK, which means, we can count on the ever growing vacuum of the black hole we call “body positivity” continuing to suck all the air out of the room! Leaving only the interminably resounding libretto that we all are so familiar with. Some version of, “Fat people want/need to be seen, so see me/us and respect it/me/us!”. I don’t have issues with the Body Positive Movement, I have a problem with it being hijacked. Body Positivity is synonymous with a little tummy pudgy, plus size modeling and fat acceptance (Disclaimer: Beautiful fat people) now more than anything else and thats limiting to say the least. BoPo was the social movement towards acceptance of marginalized body types. Bodies you don’t see in media, magazines or even in day to day life. SO, a straight, fat, married, white woman is not a marginalized body type. In fact I think its the most Common demographic in America and the UK. I am a mixed race, black & white, size 14/16 woman who recently moved to Los Angles to model professionally. That being said The Body Positivity Movement is not for me because I am not marginalized, at all! There have been beautiful women in the spot light that I have identified with over the years, size and color included. Unfortunately this superficial BoPo message that is repeated in fashion mags is a heedless depiction of what the movement actually represents, which is frustrating for ACTUAL marginalized persons .

WHY ARE WE SO HYPED OVER THIS COSMO COVER?! Cosmo is a magazine, who’s only goal is to sell magazines for its advertisers. They do what sells They aren’t taking any risks at this point in the game. Cosmo is a beauty publication and now that Tess is on the cover it mean we have accepted fat bodies as beautiful, right? Wrong! It is a smart, albeit vapid decision, that is following a lucrative trend. Shocker! Actually its much like Nike contracting Kapernick right now. Using him was no doubt going to garner attention. It would inevitably make the nauseating SJWs of the country happy. If not for the simple facts it goes against everyones favorite modern villain, POTUS. He’s not a fan of the whole thing. No doubt Nikes decision will also insight praise from the verbosity experts over at black lives matter as well.

But Nike, what about last year??? Where were you when Kapernick was being shunned, and black balled? Where was the contract when everyone dropped him and everything was slipping away? Not worth anything yet? Got it, wait awhile and when the times right go pick him up from the isle of misfit toys and bestow upon him your swish grace. Shock everyone. BRILLIANT!

*face palm*

Cosmo is the current maverick with this now? Really shaking things up, huh? Going against the grain, bringing much needed diversity to the forefront! Except, they aren’t doing any of these things. They aren’t even trying to do something different. They are a cookie cutter magazine that copy and pastes whats trending. THEY’RE JUST DOING WHATS POPULAR, like most publications do! Including an interview of course, with the same unremarkable line of questioning. Destined to be like every other beauty publication and their prolixity. Regurgitating an exchange of what body positivity is and how far its come.(meh) Asking what BoPo means to Tess and thus perpetuating the same narrative that no doubt Holiday has to be exhausted answering. She is more than just a fat model, she may want to talk about, oh i don’t know,  ANYTHING ELSE! But no.The entire article concluding with how Cosmo is embracing “all” body types! We praise them for their strides in acceptance! While they simultaneously pat themselves on the back.

*gag*

Its absolutely ridiculous that we, women, girls and men continue to rely on, or more so, believe that magazines like cosmo define the rigid ideas of what beauty means to us. This cliché tokenism We trust cosmo so much in fact, that Tess Holidays presence on the cover sends shock waves though our little world. Its cliché and tokenism.  The cover with Holiday is actually making the rounds on national and international news outlets. Before you say it, let me. Its about fat bodies being more visible in the media, correct? Or maybe its about cosmo and their fashion mag peers finally shedding their narrow ideals of beauty? Or wait, maybe everyone is still just shocked fat women can be considered beautiful. Which probably is the hardest part for some to swallow. To which I say “Grow up”.

*Scoff*

Some might say Tess Holiday could be just as damaging as a size zero girl on the cover. It is promoting an unhealthy body type, blah, blah, blah! Please! Yes, her size might not be ideal but it probably isn’t even possible for some. Much like its thinner counter part, these are purely two extremes. Im also not here to discuss Holidays weight or health. That is none of my business. Im also not here to condemn or sensationalize her size. The facts are, 1 out of 20 people are Tess Holidays size, so her cover is resonating with some woman and thats not a bad thing. We are not the body police. If someone is fat and happy and a decent human being, who am I to judge. Same for the contrast. Telling someone who is thin to eat a burger isn’t helpful and its none of our business.

My problem is that we are literally praising a magazine for capitalizing on a popular topic. Fat bodies are being considered beautiful and fashion icons by the main stream medias that have for the most part ignored them for the last….forever pretty much! Thats great, it also just means fat bodies generate revenue now. Its about $$$ and nothing else to Cosmopolitan. Tess Holiday is unquestionably beautiful. So technically, pouty lips, perfectly sculpted eyebrows, killer bone structure and those smize for days continues to be the message. She is a working model and pretty privilege IS a thing. I’m ok with pretty being popular! I depend on that for work. Cosmo isn’t blind and fat or not, Tess is beautiful. But she IS fat so *high-five* go us for our continued progressiveness and acceptance!!

*huge eye-roll*

Like I said, this narrative continues to do the same thing it has always done. Plus size models and actresses continue to “boldly” pose on covers and we cheer! All while, staying in our lane, clothing and designer wise.(For the most part) Honestly, this changes nothing of how beauty is measured. We are still participating in a dialogue that is being dictated by fashion magazines. Which is what has always been done. They have a fat women on the cover and I’m fat, so therefor I’m represented. Meanwhile still shopping at the same 5 stores that have catered to the same fat women for years. No call on change from the fashion industry as a whole. Appeased by a cover, like babies given a binkie. The magazines are moot when it comes to generating anything tangible, IRL. No talk about if this print is actually having an effect on attitudes and prejudice. Is there more acceptance of fat people and marginalized bodies as a whole?

*shrug*

“(If) Cosmopolitan is a barometer of what beauty is and if they incorporate this plus-size model onto the cover then its expanding the idea of what beauty is. (Similar) in the same way as when people say Megan Markle being incorporated into the Royal family is a positive thing for African Americans. Well, if the barometer is still cosmopolitan (and) if the barometer is still the Royal family, then you’re not challenging the means by which beauty and power are measured. And if you don’t change those means then you wont make any significant change.” ~Brand

*sigh*

We need more. We have to stop the applause for something that just isn’t revolutionary anymore. Granted, it should be more common. But to be worthy of national/international news coverage that has the same discussions, with the same plus size people seems excruciatingly blasé. Continuing to lose sight of what the Body Positivity Moment really represents. It’s like making friends with with the mean girls and you get to sit at the popular girls lunch table. You’re not a sell out but I cant help but feel in the excitement of finally feeling accepted and getting that coveted seat, we’re overlooking crucial red flags. The “mean girls” are still very much in charge of who is and isn’t good enough and popular. So take the seat, take it proudly. But don’t think for one second those people are your friends. Your friends are across the lunch room, living vicariously though you, feverishly waving and cheering you on in hopeful silence.

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Art- Nikisgroove by Nicholle KOBI

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