Opinion: Overweight models send the wrong message


Photo by Kerry Naylor

Student contributor Parker Martin.

Overweight influencers, healthy for society or just social media? The debate on overweight influencers is talked up and down all over the world. I believe that while there are many negative sides to this argument including, not only leading people to believe being obese is, not only, socially acceptable but also healthy because you are “happy”, but it also leads to the unhealthy life choices in people. There are also some positive reasons for overweight influencers including, taking away from the modeling business stereotypes, but also for the businesses who promote these overweight models and influencers and how that may make some people feel more socially acceptable. But are some companies purposely targeting and using plus size models to give good rep to their businesses?

To start, while nobody should ever be bullied for their weight or food choices, it’s important to make a distinction between health awareness and cruelty. Cancer research has pointed out that obesity is now the second leading cause of lifestyles-related cancers. While medications, mental health, genetics, and self-esteem all play a role in our ability to control our weight, judgment is never a good approach. But suggesting that being a size 30 is just as healthy as being a size 12 isn’t a body-positive message either- it’s just a form of denial. So, why would companies want to use these overweight models to show people it’s okay to look a certain way when in reality you’re just killing your body. 

On the other hand, overweight influencers should be allowed to influence people positively. By promoting body positivity, they can help others feel comfortable in thier own skin regardless of their size. Therefore, they can raise awareness about the negatives of fat-shaming and encourage people to treat others with kindness and respect. Overweight models can also advocate against the stereotypes in the modeling business. If someone sees a model that isn’t tall and skinny they may actually think there is a different beauty standard in the world for once instead of having to look a certain way for the public eye to find you “Pretty”, and combat the harmful societal pressures to a certain body type. Last, it can also have economic impacts by promoting to a wider range of body types, companies can tap into a larger customer base and potentially increase their profits. 

Last, are business using overweight models to give good rep to their business? Model agencies have been labeling people as “Plus Size” for years despite them not being that size at all. So what happens when you see these “plus size” models in the curvy section when in reality they look nothing close to what reality actually is. Businesses are more worried about having good representation within that community that they aren’t seeing the bigger picture.

In conclusion, that’s why I believe that overweight influencers have pros and cons to the real world and can be interpreted by some people differently than others.