I’m a Fat Woman and I Think Tess Holliday Needs to Shut the Hell Up

Written by the Great Devotchka, culinary wiz, blogger, and pastry chef. Read her other work here.


It was a typical night.

Surfing Facebook, fulfilling a cookie order, and looking for something to use for procrastination.

I stumbled upon the lovely drivel of the Facebook trending topics sidebar, typically filled with unnecessary entertainment garbage and the who’s who of who recently died or unexpectedly died.

One article caught my eye, and it was about how Tess Holliday “Slams” Victoria’s Secret for “Limited Beauty Standards”.

Tess Holliday

First of all, let’s clear up who Tess Holliday is. She is a 30 year old size 22 model who is “rocking the fashion industry to its core”. She teaches body acceptance and is considered a positive role model. That’s all I knew about her before reading the article.

I’m always cautious to click on a “Fativism” article because people can be downright cruel, but, needed something to do instead of what I should be doing and clicked on it anyways. Also, this didn’t appear to be fativism at all, it was more for body acceptance. I can dig it.

I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

“They [Victoria’s Secret] are kind of perpetuating the image of what’s wrong with America and with society, in general, that you have to look a certain way — like a Victoria’s Secret Angel — to feel beautiful and be sexy,” Holliday said.

Who…who said that? Who thinks that? Don’t perpetuate your own beliefs as truth, Ms. Holliday, just so you can get attention.

Victoria’s Secret has a specific image, yes, but do I, as a bigger woman, feel the need to be like them?

Do I feel like I need to wear their clothes to be sexy? Do I feel like they are calling me not sexy for not wearing their clothes? No.

Hell, when I try, I can feel beautiful and sexy and I don’t wear Victoria’s Secret. I can feel sexy in underwear and straight up munching on a bag of cheetos.

Ain’t no shame in my game.

It’s all about you and how you feel about yourself.

When I’m confident, I’m sexy.

When I feel smart, I feel invincible.

When my hair just lays in that certain way which it doesn’t always do, I’m beautiful.

When I get my eyebrows done after neglecting to get them done for awhile and they have reached caterpillar status….

You better watch out Beyonce.

Personally, I know I’m wiggling where I shouldn’t be and jiggling during movements that shouldn’t warrant such jiggle, and I am working towards fixing that.  Not because I feel pressured into doing it. Not because society makes me feel ugly. It’s because I want to be healthier. I want to go on hikes with friends and keep up with them. Certain diseases run in my family that I want to avoid.  I eventually want to have kids and not have unnecessary complications, be able to play with them, and not have to have them care for me.

I can choose how I live and my personal health goals. That is my motivation.

Not because I want to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Physically, I know I can’t be. Broad shoulders, really muscular legs, it’s not happening (also I am a freelance baker so that doesn’t help the situation).

And guess what Tess? I’m okay with that.

My body is my own and although some days I am not too happy with it, I can find the beauty in it anyways. When it comes down to it, it still works, so I have that going for me (A quick segue if I may, I had lyme disease and it really did a number on me, still does on occasion. You really come to appreciate what your body is capable of doing when you can recall a time when it wasn’t able to do such things).

I don’t feel like I need to be that and I honestly think the Victoria’s Secret models are beautiful in their own way and don’t deserve you picking on them. Victoria’s Secret has a certain image that cannot cater to everyone. Just like Lane Bryant’s image does not cater to everyone, yet we consider one empowering and one evil.

Come on people.

“Obviously someone doesn’t wake up fat,” she said. “I know that I am fat, but people completely miss the point of me trying to educate women and show them that it’s ok to be who you are and love yourself and still live your life and not be miserable.”

Except if you’re a naturally skinny Victoria’s Secret model, then you are perpetuating self hate. Got it.

Maybe we should drop the stereotype that every skinny woman is a mean girl and that all fat women are bullied, victims, and therefore cannot bully anyone else?

Now, if we are to flip the script for a moment and look back at her prior comment about perpetuating the image of what is wrong with America and society, let’s pretend she is what is looked to as the beauty standard in society. For many people, that is unrealistic. I’d feel as comfortable in her body as I would a Victoria’s Secret model (ie. I would feel uncomfortable in both). What I would have to do to maintain an image like Tess Holliday is too much work. Like the Victoria’s Secret Angel, I’d have to monitor my calories, monitor my activity level, change my diet accordingly, and no, I am not about to do that to meet some other person’s beauty standard.

Why, might you ask?

Because it would make me miserable.

You know what the problem is, people aren’t comfortable in their own skin but are quick to judge others. That appears to include our “Empowering” ladies of recent.


Tess Holliday,

You may be a bigger woman, but you don’t represent me. I won’t allow you to.

Women who take pride in who they are and don’t have to shame someone else’s work to promote their own agenda, those are women worth following. There is beauty, honor and power for the women who bring us all up, not just the ones who agree with us.

Learn to love yourself, teach love, spread love, and maybe when we all can learn to do that, we will truly fix what is wrong with society.




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  123. I completely agree! She looks way bigger than 22! I am a 22 and she is waaaaaaay bigger than I am! And I will agree, I am ashamed of my body most of the time because I let myself get this way. I used to be a lot thinner but life happens. I am working on fixing it because, like you said, I am want to be healthier. I want to be able to do things I haven’t been able to in years!

  124. Bravo!

    You got across the idea of feeling good about yourself without any hypocrisy.

    “it’s ok to be who you are and love yourself and still live your life and not be miserable.”

    “Except if you’re a naturally skinny Victoria’s Secret model, then you are perpetuating self hate. Got it.”


  125. This is exactly what I needed to read today. As someone with body image issues, the idea that a beautiful model can’t be empowering has always made me angry. My best friend is a gorgeous 6′ girl, flat chest, and a figure like a ruler, and she’s my inspiration to be healthy because we’re both dancers. Tess has never represented anything about loving yourself to me, you shouldn’t need to hate other people’s bodies to love yours.

  126. all i read was ‘i’m not like the other girls’ lmao.
    why does she have to represent you? so much internalized fatphobia in the comment section

  127. Disagree. I admire how confident she is in her morbidly obese body. I am obese but i wasn’t always obese it just that my anti depressant increased my weight gain and i didn’t eat the healthiest as a teenager. But I also so have lipedema which is a fat storage disorder which makes it hard to lose weight. I don’t praise her for being morbidly obese. I do admire her how she is confident in her body. Thank to her im learning to love my body more, trying to lose weight and get healthy. But cause of my lipedema its hard to lose weight. Thanks to tess im finally learning to accept that on more then plus size.

    • Maria, I’d say you’re more of a role model than Tess. Because while you’ve begun accepting to be comfortable in your body, you still wanna get better. You wanna be healthier and be better. That’s a real role model. Not someone who says be fat and unhealthy and be happy about it because it’s not healthy for you. I applaud you 🙂

  128. Heads up: She’s not a “Size 22”. She’s been a Size 30 at the very least for the past several years. The fact that she lies about being a much smaller size proves right there that she hates her body. So much for “fat positivism” and “EffYourBeautyStandards”, right?

  129. Great article!

  130. Love this your amazing. I can’t stand tess holiday.. her mouth makes her ugly

  131. Great article! Totally agree. My sister is a skinny Minnie and people have made fun of her her whole life. Calling her anorexic and assuming she’s unhealthy. My sister has always been that way and was born with that body type! She eats enough and she’s never mean to other people who aren’t her shape. Stop acting like all thin women are one unnatural and two mean to everyone who isn’t super thin!

  132. Thank you! Literally thought I was the only one that had it with Tess and her bs. She is NOT what body positive stands for or was founded on and I hate that everyone is praising her for being morbidly obese (not even overweight) and not planning on doing anything about that anytime soon. And the fact that she has kids and struts around with this mentality is sickening.

  133. I can not stand Tess, she is just pretentious with a big mouth full of verbal diahorrea!!

  134. TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!

  135. true i agree you are awesome

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