When Gabourey Sidibe, a regular on the FOX hit Empire, had a love scene — a public one at that — it was a momentous first. “I was really happy to be part of something that’s never been seen on primetime television before. And you don’t notice it because you don’t have to notice it, but there’s never been someone of my skin color, my size, with somebody else of the same skin color in a love scene on primetime television,” she told People after the episode aired. “Just go through the books, it’s never happened. And I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened, but I hope there’s more to come.”
That was in 2015. Now, years later, not much has changed — and Tess Holliday, who regularly shares sexy photos of herself in bikinis and her underwear on Instagram, wants progress.
“You’re not seeing plus-sized women in roles where they’re sexy or they’re allowed to be sexy,” the body positive advocate said on SiriusXM’s The Deep Dive With Carmen Rita Wong of the current state of size inclusivity in pop culture. “I think whether we want to be sexy or not, we should at least have the choice, we should at least feel like we can.”
However, as Holliday notes, not only is it important to feature more actresses like Sidibe in sexy scenes, but to make sure that how it’s portrayed doesn’t come across as fetishization. Mainly, the mother-of-two wants to dispel the myth that says if someone’s attracted to another person who’s plus-sized then it has to be a bad thing. “Nudity doesn’t have to always be sexual and it’s a women’s choice what she wants to do with her body,” she said. “I wish that we were allowed to be what and who we want to be without so much criticism because we happen to be bigger.”
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