As an outspoken body-positivity activist, Tess Holliday is probably the last person anybody should ever try to fat-shame. But apparently, an ignorant Uber driver didn't know that when he questioned whether or not the model could be healthy. Now, as she announced in an Instagram post on Wednesday, Holliday is boycotting Uber over the treatment she received. And we don't blame her one bit.
During a ride Holliday took earlier this week, she recorded a video clip of a brief interaction with her driver. He can be heard saying something about cholesterol, to which Holliday responds -- with commendable restraint, in my opinion -- that her cholesterol is not an issue:
"My cholesterol is fine, I'm perfect. Yup, I'm healthy."
At that point, according to her caption, Holliday's driver "changed the subject." But the damage was done. He'd already told her there was "no way" she could possibly be healthy.
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Hey @uber I don't pay more to use your "black car" service to be told that there's no way I could possibly be healthy because I'm fat & then questioning it. No one should have to tolerate this at any level of the services you offer. I'm fat. I also have a fat wallet & will no longer be using your services. Ever. Also after I told him I was healthy he turned the radio off & changed the subject. #putmymoneywheremymouthis #uberdriver #uber Edited to add: saying my driver is fat was obviously being used as a descriptor & not to insult him. Also I did not show his face or use his name when filming, it was to be able to show what I deal with daily & why this behavior is unacceptable from anyone.
What Holliday wrote in her Instagram caption has to be one of the best body-shaming clapbacks ever:
"I'm fat. I also have a fat wallet & will no longer be using your services. Ever."
You tell 'em, Tess! It's so endlessly, unbelievably frustrating that this kind of baseless, rude discrimination is so common. And the fact that her driver happened to be overweight himself is just so unbearably ironic. Talk about a double standard! Oh, it's okay for him to be overweight, why? Because he's a man? Somehow, that means his own cholesterol levels are magically perfect no matter what? Only women have to worry about being healthy when they're overweight?
Research actually shows that being overweight is not necessarily bad for your health. One study out of Denmark that spanned four decades and involved over 100,000 adults found that people with an "overweight" body mass index (BMI) were more likely to live longer than those with BMIs in the "healthy," "underweight," or "obese" categories. (Previous studies had similar results.)
So, not only were the Uber driver's comments totally out of line, but they were also unfounded, whether or not he knew it. Still, he had no business addressing Holliday's weight, period. And I think it's safe to say that if his passenger had been an overweight male, he probably would have kept his mouth shut.
Thankfully, Holliday has chosen to use her celebrity platform to bring attention to this incident and spread the message that fat-shaming is never okay, valid, or acceptable in any form, from anybody. Holliday's Uber boycott won't halt this kind of misogynistic behavior, but it will hopefully give people like this driver food for thought. Perhaps, even more importantly, Holliday's post will help others who have been fat-shamed to know that they aren't alone, and they don't have to take that kind of abuse in any situation.
It's so disheartening to know that a beautiful, healthy, successful, fierce woman and mother like Holliday regularly experiences discrimination because of her size. It's even more disheartening to realize how often this happens to women like her (as in, every minute of every day). But the more people who follow her lead, the closer we get to achieving widespread body acceptance.