Credit: Screen grab from Instagram

‘Severely’ Obese Model Says Her Naked Body Is an Inspiration to Young Girls

“F— you, I belong.”

Plus-size model and “body positivity” activist Tess Holiday opened up on Wednesday about her love of posing nude.

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Speaking to the press at the New York Fashion Week show for plus-size clothing line 11 Honoré, Holliday, 33, said she gets naked to inspire young girls. 

“It’s really liberating to do nude shoots because I can only imagine what it’s like for women or young folks when they’re scrolling through Instagram and they see a body that looks like mine, and they realize that I look like them,” she told the New York Post.

Her nudity is not erotic, she explained, but political.

“For me, it’s not sexual, it’s just me existing and being able to say, ‘F–k you, I belong.’ Things are changing and it’s nice for me to be able to say, this is my body, I love it. Look, If I could be naked right now, I 100 percent would.”

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As part of her mission to be a shining light to young women who struggle with weight issues, Holliday in 2012 launched the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards. It has since become a popular Instagram account that mostly curates photos submitted by fat people, sometimes scantily clad.

Meanwhile, Holliday has wracked up 1.8 million Instagram followers of her own, appeared in a number of high-profile ad campaigns, and graced the covers of magazines likes Cosmopolitan – all while being widely hailed all a feminist icon.

Still, when Self put her on its cover last year, it stirred up the culture wars, with some wondering how someone who meets the clinical definition of “severely obese” could be a fitness model.

Feminists have taken to celebrating all types of female bodies as a form of empowerment, the nuder the better. The argument is that they are fighting “the patriarchy” by rejecting its supposedly oppressive standards of beauty and modesty.

However, critics have warned that this activism is normalizing – and even valorizing – less-than-ideal lifestyles.

Obesity is a growing public health crisis in the United States and the developed and developing world. Some 40 percent of Americans are now obese, while roughly two-thirds of adults and 30 percent of children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

When it comes to women’s sexuality, some conservatives contend that feminists’ reclamation of “sluttiness” is actually weighing women down.

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Cover image: Tess Holliday. (Screen grab from Instagram)

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