Instagram influencer sparks backlash with ‘fat shaming’ photo: ‘Am I beautiful now?’
A popular social media influencer is sparking a wave of backlash after sharing a series of posts revealing her thoughts on obesity.
Wendy Cheng, who goes by the name Xiaxue on Instagram and YouTube — where she has a combined 850,000 followers — is famous online for her beauty tutorials and cosmetics tips, plus general posts about her life in Singapore.
But now Cheng is earning attention for another reason, which began after a string of posts about model La’Shaunae Steward. The comments, shared on Cheng’s Instagram stories, called Steward “disgusting,” “morbidly obese” and “irresponsible” for promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.
“It’s one thing to be chubby or fat but this is way past that. Most morbidly obese people don’t live past 40,” she wrote, according to the Post Millenial. “The morbidly obese (like this woman) should never have been seen as attractive because death and disease isn’t an attractive full stop. Irresponsibility isn’t attractive,” Cheng added.
Those comments quickly drew several responses on social media, including from Steward herself, who shared photos of Cheng’s posts on Twitter.
“Why are thin people this obsessed with letting me know indirectly they think im unattractive to them therefore im not worthy of love, a career, being visible, and literally telling me the age im going to die?” Steward wrote.
“What is the point of using your followers to belittle and humiliate someone because of their appearance? So rude and uncalled for,” one user wrote.
Cheng has stood her ground, however. On Feb. 17, the influencer shared a photoshopped image of herself to Instagram, which transposed her face onto a heavier body.
“How to ensure everyone says you are beautiful in 2020 am I beautiful now,” Cheng wrote in the post, which tagged its location as “Hungry.”
“PS – Don’t gimme the whole ‘you are not beautiful because u ugly on the inside’ bulls***,” Cheng’s post added. “There is already a word for beautiful on the inside and it’s called “kind”. Beautiful refers to the outside unless otherwise specified.”
Cheng went on to claim that she “never” fat-shamed anyone, noting that she was referring to “morbidly obese” people and for health reasons only. The Instagrammer added that she “maintains her stance.”
And some seemed to support that opinion, arguing that there is a notable difference between “fat-shaming” and “calling out obesity.”
“Sorry folks but I have to agree with [Cheng] coz romanticizing obesity is a no no,” one Twitter user wrote. Seriously y’all always act so f****** woke for the wrong s*** but no, obesity is a no. Calling out someone for obesity isn’t fat shaming.”
“Agree. Being extremely overweight (with the exception of actual illness/hormone issues) is something that shouldn’t be glorified just to sound kind,” another added.
Cheng, 35, who has been a beauty blogger, TV host and social media influencer for several years, has also stirred controversy with previous posts. In 2012, she faced backlash over a blog post that called Adele a “hypocrite” for losing weight.