The battle between body positivity and fat shaming continues on social media today. Gillette recently joined the war when the brand shared a picture of a plus-size model named Anna O’Brien.
O’Brien, who maintains an online blog called “Glitter + Lazers,” has over over 300,000 Instagram followers. She’s also a public speaker whose captivating presentation style has won over the hearts of many people worldwide.
I think that O’Brien is beautiful. Her confidence and comfort with her body is amazing to see, and we could all learn something from her.
O’Brien, also known as “Glitter” to her fans, wears a size 24. Despite her size and weight, O’Brien stays active. She can be seen around her home (located in Texas) running with her dog. She stands by the fact that everyone’s body chemistry and makeup is different, and although she’s plus-sized, that doesn’t mean she’s unhealthy.
Gillette’s Instagram feature of O’Brien received large amounts of negative feedback. Commenters stated that encouraging “morbid obesity” was unhealthy and dangerous. People also shared that this ad was just as bad as Victoria’s Secret’s use of stick thin models.
Additionally, their post featuring O’Brien on Facebook received over 15,000 comments.
When did we become so judgmental of others’ bodies?
Turns out we’re all feeling judged and have felt that way for a long time. Numerous studies conducted between the 90s and today consistently found that at least 80% of US women feel unhappy with their appearance. Furthermore, over 50% of Americans are unhappy with their current weight.
As a plus-size woman myself, I completely relate to the struggle. I look in the mirror and wonder if I’d feel pretty if I lost some weight. I’ve tried to eat right and add mild exercise to my routine, however, with limited success. And although I know that unnecessary weight can impact health over time, currently I’m incredibly healthy and my primary care physician is constantly impressed with my results at annual physicals.
Yet, if I appeared in a Gillette ad, I’m certain people would attack my appearance and claim that my obesity is disgusting and unhealthy.
Regarding the recent ad featuring O’Brien, Gillette claims they are openly working to celebrate diversity.
The brand features models with no restrictions or retouching. The company “stands with all women who write the rules.” Any visitor to their Instagram or other social media can see their effort to include POC, plus-size, and other diverse women.
The truth is, we can’t have it all.
As a society, we can’t push for inclusion and acceptance, then tear down body-positive models because of their size. We can’t, as one commenter said, “get someone with a little chub” but then restrict what we accept. If we’re OK with a size 12 model, why can’t we also allow a size 24? What about models with disabilities or medical conditions?
The point is, our society is at a crossroads. We can either move towards acceptance and start healing some of the mental illness and self-esteem issues that so many young people face today, or we can continue to throw stones at each other and go nowhere. This isn’t just about O’Brien and Gillette; it’s about learning to love each other and ourselves. Who’s with me?