Self Magazine Showcases Plus-Size Model on Their First Digital Cover, but What about Health?

Should a major health-oriented magazine only picture stick-thin, photoshopped, perfect-looking supermodels on its print and online covers? Or is there a little leeway when it comes to cover models’ appearance? Or maybe even a lot of leeway? It seems that Self magazine’s editors believe models can come in all shapes, sizes and body types.

The proof? The magazine’s recent first-ever digital cover features Tess Holliday, a plus-sized model who appears in scant clothing while looking confident and comfortable in her own skin.

And an article to go along with the cover includes numerous other photos plus a statement-making title: “Tess Holliday’s Health Is None of Your Business”

But is it? Should anyone express concern or make assumptions about another’s well-being and health?

A cover like that would be one thing in a news magazine, but Self has historically been a health magazine. So it is quite bold to picture a plus-sized model, which is in essense condoning obesity and saying there is nothing wrong with it from a health standpoint.

The magazine also posted the cover photo to its Instagram account along with comments from Editor-in-Chief Carolyn Kylstra:

“We’re thrilled to share our first ever digital cover, featuring model, author, and fat-positivity activist Tess Holliday. Holliday identifies as a fat woman; we chose to give her a platform because she has insightful things to say about thriving in a world that devalues bodies of size. We also chose to feature her because size representation is necessary, especially for a national health media brand that can help guide the conversation about what it means to be healthy and how to make health accessible. You don’t know how healthy or unhealthy a person is just by looking at them, you don’t know what their health goals and priorities are, and you don’t know what they’ve already done or are planning to do for their health going forward. And moreover, you should know that concern trolling—using a person’s perceived health to justify making them feel bad about themselves—isn’t just counterproductive, it’s abusive.”

The cover featuring Holliday sparked comments expressing both support and dissent.

Some people thought it was wonderful for the plus-sized model to have a venue in which to bring awareness to pertinent issues. For example, one user on Instagram wrote “Thanks for showing ALL kinds of beautiful women!”

And another person’s jubilant comment said, “Thank you @selfmagazine for showing the world a range of health bodies – and encouraging people to look at the many important factors that make up a well human.”

But not everyone agreed with that view, as evidenced by a commenter saying “this is terribly unhealthy.”

Another person said, “She’s so not healthy! I think it’s horrible to promote it. She maybe smart, and an activist but for fat and overweight shouldn’t be glorified! Bad move.”

When Holliday shared her magazine cover news on her social media, she said “This is totally surreal to see a fat body on the cover of a health magazine.”

It can be valuable to get back to the basics and discuss what health even means. One way to measure health is by looking at someone’s bodily functions of blood pressure, pulse and the like. Then there is muscle tone and physical activity level.

Typically obesity leads to all sorts of serious health issues, including problems with blood pressure and heart function. Diabetes, which is a serious chronic disease, is more prevalent in people who are overweight. The list of health problems associated with obesity is long.

Up until not too many years ago, most models, especially those appearing on magazine covers, were extremely thin. Some were so emaciated that they looked unhealthy and malnourished. Now, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme.

But neither extreme is healthy. Being too thin is associated with a number of health issues, and anyone who does not have an adequate intake of food and nutrients can become extremely depleted. Moderation is key, which means being at a normal weight for one’s height and body type is best.

Magazines and all media play a pivotal role in society. They can be staunch advocates and are able to sway public opinion. Thus, a health magazine showcasing a plus-sized model on its cover could be construed as encouraging obesity. Although all people should be accepted no matter what their weight is, promoting obesity is not wise or healthy.

~ Health Scams Exposed


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