Holla!!! I was so thrilled when I got a news alert that one of my favorite models, Tess Munster, was listed as one of the most inspiring Plus Models by Huffington Post. This is amazing, thrilling, and I feel like it is a personal victory for me too.
I am not the kind of person who follows models, reads fashion magazines, or keeps up with popular media. Tess Munster, however, is more than a model to me. She is an inspiration! For realz. As a plus-size beauty myself, I know it can be challenging to keep your self-esteem from dragging behind you without a little encouragement. Munster is that encouragement. She is a breath of fresh air! She is very real.
People have been talking about plus-size models for a bit now, and that is wonderful, but many of them were still not role models for me. Most of them didn’t even look plus size!! Size 8? Maybe a 10 (on your 5’8″ frame)? Yes, I realize that is “big” for the fashion world, but you are’t plus size–in my book–until you are a size 14 and have to shop in a “special” plus-size store or plus-size section. That’s right. There shall be no mixing of the fatties with the normal people. Get to your own section over there….!
Where have all the role models gone? Every famous woman that had a little meat on her, women I looked up to, all got skinny! Now, please do not misunderstand me. I am happy for people to find their bliss, live healthy lives, be fit and fabulous. People like Mragaret Cho and Janeane Garofalo were major influences in my life. They both had terrible body images, which was a part of their comedy, a part that made me identify with them , and then they both went to skinny town. And I mean Skinny Town.
If they are happy and healthy, I am very glad for them. I am not sure I hear that in their comedy though. What I see, and what it feels like to me as a fan, is kind of a betrayal. It says, “You are not OK. You were wrong to see me as a successful and beautiful woman, and thinking you could be too. Everyone must look the same (and same means skin and bones). ” I felt like talent, brains, real beauty didn’t matter as much as they were saying it mattered. Margaret Cho does talk about this is her comedy, it is just not as funny to me. I don’t relate to her the same way anymore. You can’t tell me to accept my own beauty as I am while you are getting thinner and thinner! Rosanne, Lisa Lampanelli, Kelly Osborn, I could go on and on. They all left me here, alone, to fight the good fight.
BUT NOT TESS!!! I hope her popularity reflects some shifts in the way we (as a people) start looking at what is beautiful. No more shall our daughters hear, “You could be so beautiful if you lost some weight. You have such a pretty face.” You’re damn right I do! Why does that make the rest of me un-pretty? Why do I have to wait to be beautiful until I loose weight? I am beautiful right this second. And you are too.
*Honorable mention goes to Jennie Runk (who I didn’t know about until I read the article about Tess. I call her Tess because we are friends on FB, so that makes it OK). Runk looks like most of my friends, most of the people I see walking around, a real person. Her H&M bikini shoot made me feel a little giddy inside. Here is her story. These women are changing the game, really–really slowly, but changing it none the less.
P.S. I love lipstick.