The editor of Cosmopolitan U.K. has defended her decision to feature Tess Holliday on the October cover of the magazine.
Some people looked at the cover as a step forward for body positivity but some thought otherwise, saying Holliday’s cover “normalizes obesity” and shouldn’t be celebrated.
Cosmopolitan U.K. editor, Farrah Storr, has defended her decision to cast Holliday.
“This is one cover, which has a larger lady on the cover, in a sea, in a world, in a culture which has venerated — since I can remember — thinness,” Storr said on Good Morning Britain.
She continued: “Are people going to look at that and go, ‘Do you know what? I’m going to go and mainline doughnuts, this is what I want for my life.’ Of course not. It’s patronizing to say. I’m celebrating her. I am not celebrating morbid obesity.”
Storr was challenged by Good Morning Britain co-host Piers Morgan, who has already made his opinion on the cover clear — last week he wrote on Instagram that he thought it was “dangerous and misguided as celebrating size zero models.”
Morgan told Stoor that he thinks the magazine was “doing it for click baits and (to) get Cosmo talked about,” before adding: “You are celebrating morbid obesity.”
Stoor replied: “Am I saying that this is OK to look like? Yes I am. The reason she is on my cover is to show that there is a different way to look. We live in a culture that venerates being thin. Someone will see and think ‘I’m going to feel good about looking like this.'”
Morgan pointed out that throughout the interview Stoor did not mention at any point the health issues surrounding obesity.
Morgan asked Storr if it would have been more responsible for the article to have suggested that Holliday may not be a healthy body weight.
Storr replied: “I am a journalist. I put the information out there. I’m not here to pass judgment on anyone.”
“You do pass judgment. Cosmo does that literally on every page,” Morgan said.
Good Morning Britain co-host Susanna Reid agreed, adding: “We do not all look like Cosmo cover girls. We don’t see it, Piers. They are not going to look at Cosmo and try and be 300 pounds.”
Holliday responded to Morgan’s criticism as well, saying that critics should “worry about what horrible people you are by whining about how me being on the cover of a glossy magazine impacts your small-minded life.”
“We didn’t expect it to go global, and for everyone to be talking about it,” Holliday said on Good Morning America after Morgan wrote that, “This cover is just as dangerous and misguided as celebrating size zero models.”
“You have to keep having this conversation because that’s how things change,” she said. “I’m not recruiting people. I’m literally just telling them to love themselves and it just happens to come from a bigger body.”
“Unlike Piers Morgan, I don’t need to troll people to stay relevant. I just have an awesome job and do what I love and hopefully change peoples lives,” Holliday said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
WATCH BELOW: The latest on obesity
The Mayo Clinic also says that there are genetic, behavioural and hormonal influences on body weight, but obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat.
Obesity results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including genetics, family lifestyle, inactivity, unhealthy diet, medical problems, some medications, social and economic issues, age, pregnancy, quitting smoking, lack of sleep and many others.
Holliday has faced backlash before for a racially charged statement — which she has since apologized for.
The statement comes from a 2015 interview with The Guardian, in which Holliday told a journalist, “I do admit that black men love me. I always forget that, and then I come to a black neighbourhood and I remember.”
After the interview went viral, the model made a lengthy apology.
“Firstly, I apologise for any hurt that my flippant comment has caused. I’ll try to provide some context which hopefully will change the way in which it is being viewed, but I have to also accept that being followed and quoted is something new for me and I am going to occasionally say or do things that make people unhappy. For that I am sorry, your opinions are important to me,” she wrote.
She continued: ” I replayed the incident to the team once we were set up for the next shot, and jokingly said some semblance of what appeared in print. It was in relation to being catcalled by black men significantly more than by white, but perhaps my tone and wording didn’t convey this clearly.”
“I am not a perfect human being, I am still growing and learning, and the title of ‘role model’ is not one that I have chosen — it was thrust onto me, despite my reluctance. I am doing my best to live up to what that means, but at times I will slip up. I don’t speak for everyone, but I will continue to try my best to speak UP for everyone,” she concluded.