beauty

Ashy Bines body shames plus-size model Tess Holliday.

Images: Instagram (@ashybines/@tessholliday).

Trigger warning: This post discusses eating disorders and may be troubling for some readers

In an industry that operates within very narrow definitions of female beauty, “plus-size” model Tess Holliday is often hailed as a symbol of body confidence.

The 30-year-old, who is currently pregnant with her second child, made a name for herself online with her #EffYourBeautyStandards campaign before being offered a modelling contract in January last year.

With her unwavering self-belief, it’s not hard to see why Holliday has struck a chord with thousands of women. However, it seems not everyone sees her as an inspiration.

Yesterday, Australian fitness star Ashy Bines shared her thoughts on Holliday’s body image by comparing it to that of a “clearly underweight” catwalk model. In a post shared across her social media platforms, the 27-year-old argued that neither women reflected “health.”

“Thin girls are slammed ALOT these days but females who are carrying more weight than what they should for their bodies, organs, moods, bones, cells, etc to be ‘healthy’ are now inspirations because they are confident in their swimsuit?” the personal trainer wrote.

“I think it’s FANTASTIC [Holliday] feels comfortable but at the same time I don’t think it’s a healthy body image that should be applauded.”

Bines, whose Bikini Body Challenge has gained devout followers around the world, went on to explain that she finds the reaction to Holliday’s body image “sad.”

“I just think it’s sad that women who are obviously eating a lot more than what they need and not moving their bodies to be fit, strong and healthy are getting praise,” she writes.

Watch: Singer Christine Anu discusses her own body image. (Post continues after video.)

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“There is no ‘perfect’ body and no two bodies are the same BUT it is obvious when someone is living an extreme lifestyle one end or the other and I hope girls find other role models to help them achieve a healthy lifestyle.”

Although a number of the Gold Coast-based trainer’s social media followers agreed with her sentiment, others clearly believed she missed the mark.

“Although you may not look at [Holliday] and perceive that she is healthy, she is a role model in that she is suggesting it is okay for you to love yourself, no matter where you sit in terms of personal health … no one knows anything about her health but her,” one Facebook fan wrote.

“Body shaming anyone is wrong. More so when it is on a public forum where impressionable minds look up to you,” another pointed out.

Who else is excited about my collection #mblmxtess launching next month? ?? @penningtons #penningtons #effyourbeautystandards A photo posted by ?Size Model | Mom | Brat? (@tessholliday) on Feb 11, 2016 at 5:25pm PST

It’s believed the women pictured on the left — whom Bines speculated would be eating “500 or less calories a day to achieve her body” — is the late Ana Carolina Reston. In 2006, the 21-year-old Brazilian model died of health complications arising from anorexia nervosa.

Bines’ post has since drawn criticism from a Griffith University psychologist and body image expert. Speaking to the Gold Coast Bulletin, Dr Caroline Donovan labelled the message unhelpful.

“If you attack either very thin or very overweight women and say that they’re bad role models, that isn’t actually helpful to say that we shouldn’t be aspiring to be like this,” Dr Donovan said.

“No matter what size or body shape we are we should strive to be healthy.” (Post continues after gallery.)

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Holliday is yet to comment on Bines’ post, but judging by the messages she regularly posts on social media we have a feeling she wouldn’t be particularly bothered by it.

“It’s okay to be yourself, even if you happen to exist in a fat body. I’m sexy, confident and give no f*cks. Also, f*ck anyone for saying otherwise,” she has written in the past.

Says it all, really.

What do you think of Ashy Bines’ post? Do you agree, or think she missed the mark?

If this post brings up issues for you, contact the Butterfly Foundation‘s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or at [email protected]

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