When Anna Sweetland’s classmate called plus-size models “disgusting”, the 16-year-old saw it as an opportunity to teach him (and others) a lesson about body-shaming.
Sweetland, whose class were discussing digital manipulation in the media on an online forum, pointed out that “calling anyone’s body ‘disgusting,’ isn’t really called for”.
She then went on to explain the positive influence plus-size models can have on society in a kick-ass response that was later shared on Twitter.
Sweetland’s comment was in response to a classmate who called Targets use of plus-size models in recent clothing campaigns “disgusting”.
“There’s no problem with not being ashamed of your body, but it’s an entirely different thing when you’re obese,” he said.
“The problem with campaigns like these is that they encourage obesity, unhealthy habits and they say that you’ll be happy no matter your size. This is wrong and no one wants to look at an obese model.”
In response, Sweetland said: “I agree with you that obesity is a bad thing and it is a problem that our world is dealing with right now. However, I do not believe that plus-size models are contributing to this disease.”
She went on to suggest that fast food outlets should be the ones held to account for the obesity crisis, then explained why body diversity in the media is a positive thing.
“Every body type needs to be portrayed in media, because everyone needs to be represented,” she said.
“Lastly, I would to like to inform you that your statement saying, ‘Nobody wants to look at an obese model,’ is false.
“You know who wants to see a plus size model? The 67% of women in America who are plus-sized and want to open a magazine and see somebody that looks just as beautiful as they do.”
Speaking to Teen Vogue, Sweetland said her intention behind the comment was to educate her classmate, but now that it’s been picked up by news outlets around the world, she hopes it will make many others re-think their stance on body-shaming.
“I want people to see plus-size models as a stride in the right direction for our society. Instead of seeing plus-size models as promoters of obesity, see them as promoters of confidence,” she said.
“Don’t just think of their influence on adults, but their influence on children. If I had seen models like Ashely Graham on magazine covers or being displayed positively in TV shows when I was younger, my entire opinion of my body would be different.
“I want everyone to understand that this equal representation of different body types in the media will better our society. In fact, I’d say it already has.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.