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.