A Poster Girl for What?

When Chloe Marshall, a plus-size model, was named Miss England, it caused a storm of controversy.  Why?  No, seriously, why?

What on earth is this rubbish?

A role model for ordinary women? No, Miss England finalist is fat, lazy and a poster girl for ill health

So Chloe Marshall, a plus-size model, has been named runner up for Miss England. And the debate rages on. Is she fat? Well, she has a little extra fat on her body and she could use to lose it. How much extra you need to be labeled fat, I don’t know, but would you write it out about somebody in big letters in the newspaper. Shame on the Daily Mail and on writer Monica Grenfell.

Is Chloe lazy? You can bet your bottom dollar she is not. Nobody gets to be Miss England (or gets that close) without putting in a lot of effort…especially after failing the mandatory anorexia test!

Is she a poster girl for ill health? I’ll buy that one from a fitness/nutrition perspective, because she is overweight (with a BMI clearly exceeding healthy proportions), but only if her detractors concede that she is no more a poster girl for ill health than 99% of models who show young girls how glamorous it is to be anorexic. The fact is that both anorexia and obesity are dangers women face and both are worrisome. And the modeling industry vigorously promotes anorexia. So taken in isolation, Chloe might be a poster girl for ill health, but taken in the context of the modeling industry, she actually represents a faint glimmer of balance.

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Chloe Marshall

What short-sited observers like Monica Grenfell fail to recognize is that nutrition is not everything – that self-esteem and a healthy body image are also important. I do not think Chloe sends a message to young girls (or old girls, for that matter) that they should eat too much. No risk of that.

But in a world whose subtext is to be skinny to get ahead, Chloe is the poster girl for “even if you fail at what everyone else says you have to be, you can still go out and do what you want and even succeed!”

So whether you happen to be born too short or too tall, with wide bones or narrow. Whether you happen to have challenges keeping weight off or pimples off. Whatever physical traits you might have, beyond your control or simply challenging to control, do not let them stand in your way of pursuing your dreams and reaching your goals.  You are more than your packaging.

Go for it!