Tabria Majors was watching television at “eleven or twelve,” when an infomercial declared her body unacceptable. “I wasn’t even a teenager yet. And I already knew that I wanted to lose weight and I didn’t like the way that I looked,” she told HelloBeautiful. As the screen’s blue light flickered across her pubescent face, a thought invaded her young mind, “I wanted to take this pill.”
A lifetime of involuntary exposure to similar messages inspired the model to support Pinterest’s new ban on weight-loss ads.
The company has banned, “any testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products,” “any language or imagery that idealizes or denigrates certain body types,” “referencing Body Mass Index (BMI) or similar indexes,” “any products that claim weight loss through something worn or applied to the skin,” “weight loss or appetite suppressant pills, supplements, or other products,” “before-and-after weight-loss imagery,” “weight loss procedures like liposuction or fat burning,” “Body shaming, such as imagery or language that mocks or discredits certain body types or appearances,” and “claims regarding unrealistic cosmetic results.”
The ban went into effect July 1. It was created with the advisement of the US National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).It is one of the most comprehensive policies addressing body neutrality efforts in the world of big tech. “I’ve never heard of a brand doing anything as quite as bold as this,” said Majors.
She said she chose to help “raise awareness,” because she believes the company is committed to “normalizing a variety of different body types in the media and eliminating harmful language and imagery surrounding weight loss.”
Majors, who has gone viral for a number of her independent video projects including Beylloween, uses the app as a digital mood board. Previously the company took strides to address vaccine misinformation, mental health, and hate speech. “I always feel good when I get on Pinterest. it’s one of the apps I’m genuinely excited to open,” she continued. “I like seeing what people come up with.”
“It’s just so unhealthy to start a relationship – a negative relationship- like that with your body, so young. I shouldn’t have even cared about anything like that at that time,”she continued.
A 2017 article in Industrial Psychiatry Journal stated that “the messages given by the media, peers, and parents about the importance of appearance are internalized by individuals, who adopt others’ standards of beauty as their own.” It also stated that “the quality of immediate peer feedback,” on the platforms, “leads to increased body surveillance.”
Majors acknowledged that children have even more methods to absorb these messages thanks to the internet. “I feel like a lot of kids today may even be younger than that,” she said. “We get too caught up in comparing ourselves to others as well. And social media is like a necessary evil today but it’s just like, it really saddens me hearing like young kids talk about how they don’t like the way they look and how even parents are putting their kids on diets, which is so damaging. It’s so unhealthy. And, I just hate that. I hate that that’s the society that we live in now.”
Majors, who is one of the most popular plus-size models in the industry, does not want her 1.5 million Instagram followers comparing themselves to professional lighting, tailored garments, and video clips with high production value. She also doesn’t want other tech firms to turn a blind eye. “We all play a hand in it in some way,” she said. “I do think tech companies should step up and take the initiative to combat the issues surrounding body image.”
“I feel conflicted about it,” she continued. “I appreciate that people can draw inspiration I guess from me, but I don’t want people to aspire to look like me.”
“When I used to aspire to look like other people, it was never coming from a genuine place,” she revealed. “I just felt like I wanted to look like that because that’s what society taught me.”
Recently several women assumed to be recovering from Brazilian Butt Lift procedures were filmed in an airport transport line without their permission and shamed online for their choices. Several memes circulated calling the procedure’s popularity an “epidemic.”
Majors supports body neutrality, and the limiting of messaging that commands body transformation, but does not support the shaming of those who wish to alter their bodies. She has voluntarily disclosed information about her own breast augmentation in interviews and on social media. “People have the autonomy over their own bodies to do as they choose. I don’t think we should vilify people who want to change their bodies. I don’t think we should vilify people who don’t want to do anything,” she said. “In the end, it’s up to one’s own decision.”
She wants her supporters and admirers to engage with her public persona reasonably. “I don’t think it’s bad at all that people look up to me and I’m honored that people do, but I just want it to be like, from a healthy mental state,” she said.
“I don’t want people to kill themselves to try to look like Tabria Majors.”