A popular TikTok creator who preaches self-love is schooling followers on fatphobia after a video of her and her husband went viral for the wrong reasons.
Alicia Mccarvell has 5.5 million followers on TikTok alone where she posts body positive content as well as videos showing parts of her daily life. But when it comes to showcasing her marriage with her high school sweetheart and husband Scott Mccarvell she's recognized a negative trend.
In June, a transition video showing the pair in towels after a shower and later dressed for a formal event went viral, amassing 42.4 million views by time of publish. And although some videos strike gold on the app's algorithm, Alicia pointed out just why she thought it gained so much attention.
"I believe it went viral because of the contrast in my husband and I's body sizes," she tells Yahoo Life. "The conversation in the comment section was about my husband and I's bodies, our worth and me being fat."
It isn't the first time that such comparison has been brought to the couple's attention. In fact, Alicia explains that it's the very reason her account gained traction two years ago. Even after growing a loyal following, the creator has had to address the issues with the way that outsiders make assumptions about their relationship solely based on physical appearance or body size. It's not something that you "overcome," she says, "when really I navigate this response to my relationship everyday."
"It's often that people say things like; 'You got a good one,' 'You're lucky to have someone who loves you unconditionally,' 'Wow, he's incredible for loving you,'" she wrote in an Instagram caption back in May. "And most of the time they are referring to the fact that he's fit and I'm fat - when that doesn't even scratch the surface of why @scottymc4 is incredible."
Although she addresses the many facets of her relationship, it is responses to videos like the one she posted in June that remind her of the ingrained fatphobia that so many can't get passed when seeing the couple on their For You page.
"The world looks at us and immediately values Scott more than me. And since we don’t add up, people try to add things to my side of the equation to make it make sense by saying things like, ‘Oh, she must not have been fat when they met’ or ‘Oh, she’s got to be rich.’ Or they try to decrease his side of the equation by saying things like, ‘He must be gay’ or ‘He fetishes fat women,'" Alicia explained in a follow up video responding to the "trash beauty standards" at play in response to the original video. "We’ve been made to believe that somebody who is physically fit like Scott could never in a million years be in love with or compatible with a fat woman. And that’s solely because the world has literally taught us that we have to value our worth on our bodies."
Alicia explains to Yahoo Life that she addressed the problems with many of the negative comments in the comments section as they were written but felt the need to make a separate video as it gained more attention.
"My platform is about self-love and by allowing people to abuse me in my comments section, I would have been condoning the idea that it's OK to one, bully people online and two, that I'm not worthy of my husband," she says. "Neither of those things are true, so it was important that I address them not only for me, but for those in my community who are in a similar relationship or box as I."
The explanation video has garnered 25.3 million views as of publish, as well as a lot of praise for how Alicia handled the situation. "I've learned to be empathetic to others and have come to understand that fatphobia is taught. It was taught to me, it's being taught to others and although I have put in the work to unlearn it, that's not the case for everyone," she says. "It's important to educate people on the trash beauty standards because they affect everyone, including those living within them."
While Alicia has since taken the opportunity to poke fun at those who express discontent over her relationship through other light-hearted TikTok videos, she says that she's happy to have received so much attention on the one where she was able to effectively point the fatphobia out.
"It's not too often that videos of substance go viral, and I'm feeling pretty proud that this response video has been so widely received," she says. "I hope it helps people challenge the way they view others and most important how they place their own value. When you value yourself for who you are, and not how you look, your life changes for the better. I promise."
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