Man who was bullied over his weight wants to become a plus size-male model
The body positivity movement is helping loads of people around the world embrace their flaws and learn to love themselves, no matter what shape they are. It might feel to some as though the movement has been predominantly female-focused thus far, but there are more and more plus-size male models speaking out on the issue, too.
Now, you could argue that this is because women (generally speaking) face disproportionately more scrutiny over their appearance than men do. However, it's still the case that most of the body-positive advocates out there are female, and that there's far more representation for plus-sized women; with overweight men often remaining the butt of the joke.
Yet one man wants all this to change, and to that end has managed to overcome a lifetime of self-consciousness about his weight and appearance, and has decided to become a plus-sized model. Thomas Saunders, who hails from Kent in England, had been bullied over his weight ever since childhood.
This cruel teasing came to a head while he was in Tenerife with pals, and had an epiphany - deciding to take his shirt off in public and go for a dip in the hotel swimming pool for the first time ever. Ever since then, Thomas has experienced a seismic change in his self-esteem and become determined to build his confidence.
"I had a lightbulb moment, thinking to myself, ‘This is ridiculous. Why am I doing this?’ ... So, I just whipped my shirt off. I’d never felt body confident before, so I knew what I did in Tenerife was a big thing for me. Before that, it felt like my weight had taken over everything – even down to doctors’ appointments, where every illness or injury would be attributed to my size and nothing else. "
"There are virtually no plus-size male role models out there at the moment. It’s something that would’ve made a huge difference to me growing up, so I think that, while I have the chance to help someone else, I should. My one piece of advice to any other young men out there in a similar position is to always remember to live your best life. There is nothing wrong with loving and accepting yourself for who you are."
He added: "Growing up, I tried to be strong-willed and not be jealous of others, or try to be something I’m not, but the bullying meant my self-esteem was non-existent ... The past few months have marked a real turning point in my life when it comes to making positive changes for my well-being and body image. I am no longer holding back from any opportunities that come my way."
Now Saunders has become a model for the retailer Big Dude Clothing, which specialises in XXL size clothes, and hopes that he can promote body positivity among men who might be struggling with their self-image. Personally, I think that Thomas truly is an inspiration, no matter what size you are.