Gillette posted a photo of a plus-size model and Twitter couldn't handle it

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Thursday, April 11, 2019
Gillette criticized for photo of plus-size model
Gillette's photo of a plus-size model in a bikini has caused a firestorm on social media.

A heated debate broke out on Twitter -- a breeding ground for divisiveness -- after the razor company, Gillette Venus, posted a photo of a plus-size, bikini-clad model at the beach.

With the caption "Go out there and slay the day," the photo may seem like any other on its feed, most of them portraying women in minimal clothing showing off their freshly shaven skin. This particular photo, however, caused a tsunami of commenters to offer judgments on the model's health.

The conflict comes from some users accusing Gillette of glamorizing obesity and others praising the company for promoting body positivity for all shapes and sizes.

The photo's subject, Anna O'Brien, told "Good Morning America," in an interview aired that aired Thursday, "The purpose of taking that photo was just to capture a really joyful time in my life. I just wanted to remember how happy I felt. And that's all it was. It was just a really happy time in my life."

O'Brien, who is a blogger and social media influencer, had posted the photo to her social media from a trip to Cuba and was contacted by Gillette asking if they could repost it. But the comments on Twitter were instantly divided.

"It was hurtful when my obese mother died at 40 and couldn't see me graduate high school," one Twitter user wrote. "I find this ad extremely offensive."

"This woman will die of heart disease before @potus completes his second term. I hope she's just as happy and carefree for her last 6 years if life. Everybody should live themselves, but lets not call it healthy," another person responded to the picture on Twitter.

Many others came to the model's defense, fighting back at those who rushed to judgment.

"Are you this person's doctor? Do you know if they are unhealthy? How? Where is her medical history in the tweet?" someone wrote.

Another added: "Weight is not an indicator of health, and health is not an indicator of worth."

"So where do we draw the line between body positivity and health issues?" someone else replied,

"What people who aren't plus-sized don't know is this is our everyday existence," O'Brien told "GMA." "I wanna show women that they can do whatever they want.

"If you look at my image, it's joyful. It's happy. It's inspired," she added. "I'm living a great life. But for a lot of people, all they can see is fat."

The company was forced to respond to the hullabaloo on Twitter, writing, "Venus is committed to representing beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, and skin types because ALL types of beautiful skin deserve to be shown. We love Anna because she lives out loud and loves her skin no matter how the 'rules' say she should display it."

O'Brien is no stranger to outrage. Her bikini snaps often draw attention, including photos last year from Las Vegas and Times Square.

"At the end of the day, bodies are bodies," she said. "There are so many different types of them. And that's all this is about. ... Let's start showing them as they are."