Tess Holliday fires back at 'Fit mom' on body positivity: 'She's completely off the mark'

Elise Solé

Plus-size model Tess Holliday and a fitness model are in a body-positive-related battle. Holliday is responding to claims made by Maria Kang that she’s not enhancing the body-positive movement by slamming a man who penned a viral tribute to his curvy wife.

Here’s the rundown: In July, a man named Robbie Tripp wrote an Instagram message applauding his wife Sarah‘s curvy figure. In the post, Tripp explained that he has always been teased for his attraction to women who are “curvier” and that he wants men to rise above conventional beauty standards.

“For me, there is nothing sexier than this woman right here” he wrote in the post, which has more than 36,000 likes. “Her shape and size won’t be the one featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan, but it’s the one featured in my life and in my heart.”

Public opinion was split on whether Tripp was a sweet feminist or a man fishing for praise for marrying a plus-size woman.

On Friday, Holliday, a plus-size model and author of the upcoming book The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl, responded to Tripp’s post by writing on Instagram, “Stop giving men trophies for doing the bare minimum.”

Holliday’s post captured the attention of Kang, a fitness model. Kang was berated in 2013 for inciting body shame by posting a photo featuring her toned abs while surrounded by her three children, with the caption “What’s Your Excuse?”

On Monday, Kang offered her take on both Tripp and Holliday with a Facebook post. “Did anyone read this story about a husband loving his wife regardless of size?” she wrote. “I thought it was a sweet tribute of someone loving their spouse despite any standard. When I see someone like Tess Holliday criticize this, it’s disheartening. Tess is an obese model (not thick, plus size or curvy) who has popularized the term #effyourbeautystandards and should promote positivity in all forms.” Kang was referring to Holliday’s viral hashtag that promotes size acceptance.

Kang also told Yahoo Beauty, “It seems like Tess believes it’s antifeminist for a woman to want approval from any man.”

Now Holliday is firing back. “Does it seem antifeminist to praise a man for loving a plus-size woman in a social climate where those women are still being reviled for loving themselves?” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “Maria Kang is an example of palatable fitspo feminism that is promoted for profit.”

Holliday added: “It’s completely off the mark for a woman who has put herself on the map by shaming other women for how they look postpregnancy — literally, the point at which many women are at their lowest. Her platform is ‘What’s your excuse’ for not looking like her; therefore it’s ironic that she chimed in on this.”

She also expounded on her reaction to Tripp. “The internet gave another man the digital version of a ticker tape parade for stating publicly that, despite his friends finding his wife repulsive, he was brave enough to marry her. Give me a break.”

The #effyourbeautystandards campaign was founded by Holliday in 2013 as a way to reject size as a barometer of beauty and to empower women to love their bodies. The hashtag is typically added to social media photos featuring women of all sizes.

“The goal of body positivity shouldn’t be to once again center our sense of self-worth around whether or not people that fit our sexual identity find us attractive,” Holliday tells Yahoo Beauty. “You don’t get a cookie for finding an obviously beautiful and statistically quite average woman attractive — particularly not after you married her.”

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