Robbie Tripp isn’t afraid to talk about his wife’s body.
The San Francisco-based author posted a photo of himself and his wife Sarah on Instagram last week, in an attempt to celebrate his wife Sarah’s curves.
“I love this woman and her curvy body. As a teenager, I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side, ones who were shorter and curvier, girls that the average (basic) bro might refer to as ‘chubby’ or even ‘fat,'” he wrote on the social media site.
“As I became a man and started to educate myself on issues such as feminism and how the media marginalizes women by portraying a very narrow and very specific standard of beauty (thin, tall, lean) I realized how many men have bought into that lie. For me, there is nothing sexier than this woman right here: thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll, etc. Her shape and size won’t be the one featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan but it’s the one featured in my life and in my heart,” he continued. “There’s nothing sexier to me than a woman who is both curvy and confident; this gorgeous girl I married fills out every inch of her jeans and is still the most beautiful one in the room.”
He added men should realize real women are not porn star or bikini mannequins, and women should not have to fit into a mould to be loved and appreciated.
The backlash that followed
But after getting praised by news sites in the U.S., and over 34,000 likes on Instagram alone, Tipp’s message was not well-received by all social media users. While some saw the importance of celebrating diverse body types, others believed he shouldn’t be acknowledged for praising himself.
Feminist and model Tess Holliday posted one of Tripp’s criticisms on her Instagram page, adding the critique was “so real.”
The original tweet, which read:”*guy likes curvy woman* 16,667 favs, national news *curvy woman likes herself* 12 favs, 48 people in your mentions talking about diabetes,” has been liked over 173,000 times.
On Instagram, Holliday wrote, “Stop giving men trophies for doing the bare minimum. Also, I’m not here for someone who says transphobic things.”
Defending his words
“It was a post of her and celebrating her, telling people how much I love and adore her and am attracted to her. And maybe even offering a thought-provoking statement about portrayals of women in the media, and the amazing job Sarah has done in speaking to curvy women,” he said on the segment, the Independent reports.
“It was meant as nothing but positive, the intent was pure. I think the majority of people got that but I think there’s always going to be a small group of people that want to cast a negative attitude towards something but we just choose to focus on the positive.”
He added he frequently talks about his wife’s body on social media and it wasn’t a one-off. His wife, Sarah, who writes about body confidence herself, also defended her husband.
“I talk about my thick thighs and my big booty and stretch marks and arm flab and all kinds of topics that are super relatable to women every single day so it’s not a conversation that’s abnormal for us.”
But others on Twitter agreed with Holliday.
Twitter user Melanie Lynskey added that many men message her telling her they would date her, something that she should be flattered by because of her size. “There’s an entitlement that even the most average, mediocre man feels towards women who are not ‘conventionally attractive.'”
Sam Escobar of Allure said nothing about Tripp’s message was revolutionary or saintly.
“At the end of the day, people like Robbie Tripp are generally innocuous, but he nevertheless perpetuates the overarching attitude that it is somehow abnormal or unacceptable to be attracted to a fat person. What bothers me is not Tripp’s fondness for his wife’s body, but the way he pats himself on the back in the most public possible way — and that others are actually following suit,” she wrote.
Keeping a strong relationship
Toronto dating coach and matchmaker Christina Jay says there’s nothing wrong with celebrating your partner’s curves, as long as they are OK with it. However, she doesn’t think people need to broadcast what they think of their partner’s body.
“Only if your partner is comfortable with it and it promotes a positive message,” she tells Global News. “However, if your partner makes negative comments to your body, they are probably suffering from their own lack of self-esteem by putting you down and that’s never OK.”
Relationship coach Tara Caffelle says it is never any of our responsibility to be aesthetically pleasing to anyone else.
“Ultimately, we are in our relationship with our partner and only our partner,” she tells Global News. “Leaning into one another, again and again, in the face of the opinions that everyone seems to think that they have the right to share with us. The important part of this is respect and love for whatever package your partner is in.”
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And if people in your life do bring up how different your bodies are, for example, have an honest conversation around some of the comments.
“Talk about what you do love about each other, regardless of the popular opinion out there. If you need some support with self-love and body acceptance, for whatever body you have, may it be large or small, then reach out for that. And then, over date-night dinner, brainstorm how you would like to find some new friends.”