Las Vegas is a city unlike any other, a wonderland of resorts, casinos, neon lights, and late night parties. They say anything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but these days that just isn’t true. In April, controversy arose out of a viral story reported from one of the famous Las Vegas hotels. Cleveland native and plus-size model Anna O’Brien was asked to “cover up” while hanging out poolside.
She was instantly outraged and argued that the women and men situated around the pool were equally, if not more, scantily-clad.
“I find it ironic that I’ve taken photos in swimsuits all over the world and the one place I was told to cover up was Las Vegas,” she shared, along with a picture from the day in question. “Sure, thin girls in thongs and pasties are A-OK but a plus girl in a full coverage suit, trying to take an epic editorial shot – no that’s just too much.”
She felt completely wronged by the situation, and soon the post went viral. To follow up on her first viral sensation, O’Brien planned a shocking stunt to take place in New York City.
The photo shoot took place in the middle of Times Square, at the request of RTL, a German news station. Her goal with the shoot was to show that, “I am more than my body and I deserve respect and human decency.”
It was a lofty goal, considering the situations she was putting herself in. And what happened next could easily have been avoided had she staged the photo shoot anywhere other than Times Square.
“Yesterday I did the scariest thing I have done in my 30+ years… I stood in times square in a bikini and posed for a photo shoot,” she posted, along with a photo. “In the beginning, I felt really overwhelmed. Not because I was mocked, but because I was so extremely sexualized by a few men who were watching.”
She was shocked by the response, although it’s unknown what she expected to happen. Men were coming up to her and saying all sorts of lewd things, including one saying he wanted to, “suck on them tasty toes.” Another reportedly asked her to, “Twerk for the camera baby, show them how that a** clap.”
“One man said he felt justified in saying what he did because ‘plus women don’t know they’re ****able,” she continued. “Tears began to well up. I was prepared to be pointed at, shamed, and called fat. I didn’t expect to be fetishized.”
This is a side of plus-size modeling that most people would never consider. Due to the specific nature of her work, those who are fans tend to get obsessed. This isn’t always pleasant for the object of their affection, no matter how flattering some men think they are being.
The critics of plus-size models claim that these models are inspiring women to be unhealthy. The fact is that regardless of how positive these women feel about their bodies, there are serious ramifications to being overweight including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, mental illness, and body pain.
So while we don’t need to be encouraging every woman to be a size zero, encouraging people to be healthier does nothing but good in the long run.
The most disturbing part of the experience for her involved a man who silently held up his phone, recording the entire shoot. The issue was his choice of subject, as he was, “holding his camera up at the perfect height to capture my backside,” she said.
What do you think about the public reaction to her latest publicity stunt? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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