Fat shaming is nothing new for La’Shaunae Steward, a plus-size model based in Charleston, South Carolina, with nearly 90,000 followers on Instagram and a shit-ton of full-figured fashion-forward flicks to back up her notoriety. You’ve probably seen her photos floating around the ‘gram for spotlight features or maybe modeling for your favorite IG boutique.
But it’s a campaign for clothing brand Universal Standard that’s struck a chord with the fat shamers of the world. The company's slogan: “Fashion Freedom. All of us. As we are.” Their ads are notably filled with women of all shapes, sizes and colors.
Afropunk reposted the shot of the 22-year-old sporting a set of white underwear, and the internet just couldn’t deal. The comments are full of remarks such as “The only thing she is ‘representing’ is poor cardiovascular health and likely diabetes,” and “This encourages and promotes unhealthy habits, nothing more.”
Plus-size beauties have taken the world by storm over the past couple of years (Hello, Ashley Graham!), and there’s a whole body-positive movement happening on social media right now, so why is fat shaming still a thing in 2019?
For starters, La’Shaunae doesn’t fit the body-positive archetype that society has deemed likeable—small up top, round bottom, cinched waists and relatively smooth tummies. That’s just ONE type of plus-size.
Then there’s the fact that folks aren’t comfortable with La’Shaunae’s level of fat. A roll or two is fine, or considered normal, but this is too much, they say. See fat shaming's sneaky counterpart, “concerned trolling,” as author Demetria Lucas puts it. Lucas also re-blogged the photo.
La’Shaunae spoke to BET exclusively about the concerned trolls:
“They make it like they're genuinely concerned about my health, but in reality they just don't want someone who looks like me to be the way I am on Instagram or any platform. Unhidden, not insecure, and not afraid to exist. It’s fatphobia at its best,” she says.
Her wish for 2019?
“I want to see the models who have similar heights and body types as me, over a size 18 and shorter than 5-foot-8, on the cover of magazines and out on runways. [And also more] models with disabilities and more trans models.”
“It's been extremely hard to [get where I am], and I have been doing this now for four years. I'm excited for this year and the things I will achieve..."
The fact of the matter is the hate is real, but the concern is fake. A woman's body size and heath is between her and her doctor. Overweight folks exist, need underwear and reserve the right to feel confident in their skin. Don’t @ me.
(Photo: @brookeashleybarone courtesy of Lashaunae Steward)
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