It’s no secret that we live in a society where the beauty standards placed upon both men and women are straight up outrageous. Sure, these sorts of expectations have been around for countless decades, but the very public digital world in which we exist now heightens these expectations tenfold.
We all feel that pressure to conform to some extent, and companies have capitalized on our rampant insecurities. From mild filters that make your skin look flawless to apps that adjust your features so they’re more in line with current standards (hello Facetune!), we’re faced with a circular issue in which standards are elevated so we digitally conform. Then, because we conform, these physical expectations are normalized. But who actually looks like their Snapchat selves IRL?
Tess Holliday — a proud plus sized model based in Los Angeles and creator of the #effyourbeautystandards hashtag — is having none of it. Especially after an app called PIP CAM took an existing image of her without her permission, along with pictures of others, to demonstrate how the app can dramatically slim your figure.
In the original post, you can watch the app in action as it completely changes the shape of three beautiful women, including Holliday herself. The implication is that the app is “fixing” these women’s bodies, which is tone deaf at best.
The 32-year-old model took to Instagram immediately to put the app on blast, saying, “An app that has nearly 50k downloads was dumb enough to steal photos of myself and two other plus size women and use them for this nonsense. I’m sharing this because I wanna address a few things. First of all, the fact that anyone thinks it’s ok to market this to ANYONE is appalling, but like, come on y’all.”
Holliday didn’t stop there, though. She went on to call out Instagram, too, asking why they don’t better regulate content like this. While Instagram can’t control what other apps do, it’s fair to hold them to a certain standard when it comes to the way they make money.
To clarify that she had nothing to do with PIP Cam’s advertisement and that she hadn’t been paid by them, she wrote, “In a world of paid content, flat tummy teas, appetite suppressing lollipops (so many) it’s important for me to tell y’all that I have and will never partner with a brand or do paid content unless I genuinely use it or would recommend it to my best friend. I’ve been offered crazy amounts of money to sell y’all all kinds of things like teeth whitening (that doesn’t work), weight loss products (that are dangerous), etc., but that’s me — to each their own.”
True to her platform, Holliday made sure to urge her followers, and anyone listening, that they should never let anyone make them feel as if they need to alter their appearance — with an app or otherwise. “You are enough. You are worthy of love in your current body, whatever that body looks like,” she said.
At this time, it appears as if the PIP CAM app is no longer active on Instagram, though it’s still available in the iTunes and Google Play stores. It’s possible that their quick disappearing act from Instagram has something to do with the backlash, but we don’t know if they pulled themselves off Instagram or if Instagram pulled them. Either way, Holliday noted that her lawyers would confront the company for using and manipulating her images without permission.