The #effyourbeautystandards movement

Plus-size model Tess Munster starts a dialogue about body positivity with a sassy hashtag


With body perfection just a few clicks away using photo retouching methods such as Photoshop, most of the images we see of the human body are highly unrealistic. This has prompted many people to call for a decrease in Photoshop use on ads, especially ones targeted to younger girls.

While some companies have listened to the public’s request, and decreased or stopped their Photoshop use, many continue to retouch photos in order to achieve the look of ideal beauty.

In response to these beauty standards, plus-size model Tess Munster started a Twitter campaign, using the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards to spread a message of body positivity.

At 5’ 5” and wearing a size 22, Munster is far from a typical model, and is adamant about changing how the world defines beauty. However, in Munster’s effort to promote plus-size beauty, she is also suggesting that those that fit the current beauty mold should not be celebrated. With this, it becomes clear that the issue isn’t what the beauty standards are, but rather, that we have beauty standards at all.

Junior Laurel Gardner, who has always been naturally thin, knows the reality of body shaming and that it happens to everyone.

“Growing up in our society is hard for girls of all shapes and sizes, including slimmer girls,” Gardner said.
“I have definitely had times when I have been unhappy with my body, because people have told me I am too thin, despite never trying to make myself slimmer; I rarely say no to dessert! I think it’s important to learn to love yourself the way you are and appreciate your body and everything it does for you.”

Rather than focusing on body shape or size, health should be the top priority when it comes to how we think about our bodies.

According to the CDC, a woman of Munster’s height of 5’ 5” should weigh between 111 to 150 pounds to be considered normal weight. Anyone this height over 150 pounds is considered to be overweight or obese.

At a size 22, Munster is considered obese for her height, and while it is great that she is comfortable with her own body, she is not a good role model for body image from a health standpoint.

Despite her health coming into question, her message of body positivity is a step in the right direction for many people.

Senior Kristen Darling thinks it is important to remain optimistic no matter your size.

“Body positivity is so, so important, whether you are a size two or a size fourteen,” Darling said. “After all, comparison is the thief of joy! For me, body positivity starts with a smile and an optimistic attitude.”
“Sure, there are things I don’t like about my body, but there are also aspects I love. I’ve started to take recreation classes to get more in shape, and I love to wear clothes that make me feel great. To me, body positivity is the understanding that you are happy, healthy, and most importantly, worth it, regardless of what size you wear.”

The population as a whole needs to adopt attitudes like this one. Rather than body shaming and putting people down for what size they wear, whether small or big, we should focus on the wonderful things our bodies can do and the different ways to keep them healthy.

University of San Diego offers so many great ways to stay active, whether it be intramurals or recreation classes, and the San Diego weather provides plenty of opportunities to get outside and get moving. By focusing on health, it’s easy to appreciate your body rather than envy others’ bodies.

Sophomore Matthew Roberson emphasized that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that there should not be one standard of what is considered beautiful.

“I think that as a society we should celebrate all kinds of body types and discourage people from having a rigid belief of what it means to be beautiful,” Roberson said. “If society were more open-minded and accepting of all types of bodies, then there wouldn’t even be a need for campaigns like this.”

Rather than aiming to fix ourselves, or our body shape, the goal should be to fix society’s perception of beauty.

The issue is not in appearance, but rather how we judge others and ourselves. By thinking about our bodies from a health standpoint, we can focus on what a gift our bodies are, instead of resenting them for how they look. It is a mental change, not a physical one, that needs to take place in order to recognize the beauty each person holds.

Munster’s #effyourbeautystandards movement has been effective in that it has opened up a conversation about body image nationally. This is a movement that universities everywhere should follow, challenging the current perception of beauty and acceptance and, hopefully, making more people comfortable and confident in their bodies.

With Munster as a leader, the University of San Diego should embrace this movement and bring more body positivity to campus, starting with a focus on health.