Piers Morgan sparked a backlash with “tone deaf” comments about the body positivity movement.

Discussing a Cosmopolitan cover which features a plus-size woman exercising with his Good Morning Britain co-host Susanna Reid, he said:

“I think it is irresponsible of Cosmo to be celebrating obesity in the middle of a pandemic where we know obesity can kill you.”

Government statistics suggest that Covid-19 patients are at a greater risk of serious illness or death if they are obese.

Cosmo’s intention, however, was not to “celebrate obesity” but to demonstrate that “wellness doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all”. Their ‘This is healthy’ series features women with a range of different body shapes and sizes explaining how their exercise regime helps them. 

Jessamyn Stanley, who graced the cover Morgan and Reid discussed, is a yoga teacher whose mission is to encourage people like her who might otherwise be alienated by yoga to give it a go. She told the magazine:

“The reality is yoga has absolutely nothing to do with what you look like. When I started I was often the only fat person at classes and frequently the only Black person, so it was very alienating.”

Nevertheless she went on to become a teacher herself, and promotes the “mental and spiritual benefits” to her thousands of followers.

Morgan’s criticisms of her cover was met with a backlash online.

People also pointed out the double-standard in people’s reactions to plus-sized models compared to those that are underweight or particularly muscular.

All too often, people’s comments about plus-sized bodies are thinly-veiled judgement about their appearance, rather than genuine concern for their health.

Of course, there are health risks associated with carrying excess weight, including serious illness from Covid-19.

But Cosmo’s covers don’t dispute that: rather, they promote exercise a healthy practice for all women of all different body types.

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