Tess Holliday has dealt with a lot of hate recently, like being body-shamed on social media during her pregnancy. And now, just last week, Facebook rejected an advertisement by Australian feminist group which featured the below image of the plus-size model in a bikini:
Last Thursday, Melbourne feminist talk show Cherchez la Femme posted a screenshot of a notification that their ad was not approved by Facebook due to the image of Tess in a bikini. The image was meant to illustrate an event for June 7th called “Feminism and Fat,” which Cherchez la Femme’s Jessamy (Jess) Gleeson wanted to promote.
As the group explained in a post, Facebook claimed the photo of Tess “violates [their] Ad Guidelines by promoting an idealized physical image.” Thinking there must have been some sort of confusion, Jess appealed the decision — only to be rejected again.
According to Facebook, “ads like these are not allowed since they make viewers feel bad about themselves” and “depicts a body. . . in an undesirable image.” It gave examples of “closeups of ‘muffin tops’ where overhanging fat is visible” and “people pinching their fat/cellulite” as inappropriate images.
Additionally Facebook said the photo “contravened their ‘Health and Fitness Policy,’ and that Jess should replace it with an image of a “relevant activity, such as running or riding a bike.” Facebook’s rejection explained that the post with the image would still go up, but it could not be promoted as an advertisement unless it was replaced with a “policy-compliant image.”
Cherchez la Femme are understandably miffed that the Health and Fitness Policy is being applied in this way. “Facebook has ignored the fact that our event is going to be discussing body positivity. . . and has instead come to the conclusion that we’ve set out to make women feel bad about themselves by posting an image of a wonderful [plus-sized] woman,” Jess wrote in the post. “We’re raging pretty hard over here — both because Facebook seemingly has no idea that plus sized, self describing [sic] fat women can feel great about themselves, and also because we haven’t been able to boost the original damn post.”
Jess told BBC that the group is “furious,” and that Facebook is way out of line. “They’re not policing women’s bodies when it comes to acceptable standards of beauty elsewhere,” she said. “I can see that they were attempting to try to tackle eating disorders — that makes sense — but at some point you have to consider that women of different weights exist on Facebook.”
Facebook has since apologized for the error. “Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, so we occasionally make mistakes,” said a spokesman for the social media platform in a statement quoted by the BBC. “To be clear, the image complies with our advertising policies. We have now approved the image and apologize for any offense this caused.”
Although people do make mistakes, this one was a particularly grave one. Claiming that plus-size women are “undesirable” and using it as grounds to ban it from the media is 100% not okay, and we truly hope that we will soon live in a society where all bodies are rightfully celebrated — equally.