The #StopBodyShaming campaign is exactly what Irish women need

For once, some positive body image news. A segment on The Saturday Night Show this weekend got Twitter talking about body shaming in Ireland and why it needs to stop.

Plus-size model Vicki Mooney appeared on the show to chat about her new agency V+ Models, which launched earlier this year. All models on Vicki’s books are a size 14 or over, which is a refreshing change in a world where a size 8-10 is usually considered too big for the catwalk.

Speaking on the show, Vicki, who is a plus-size model herself, said that V+ women were representative of real Irish people. “We are the women walking the street in Ireland. People should realise that that’s who we are.”

Vicki and some of her models appeared on the show to launch their #stopbodyshaming initiative. The campaign's official launch picture, featuring 11 of Vicki's models in the nude, had Twitter buzzing. Many praised the photo for its positive message about weight and body image:

But others felt it sent a message that being overweight was healthy:

Over 40% of women in Ireland are a size 14 or over, which drives home the fact that the traditional boyish size-6 catwalk model is a wildly inaccurate portrayal of a “normal” body shape.

Many would argue that images of beauty in the media are never going to be realistic – if they were, we’d have nothing to aspire towards.

Whatever the general consensus from the public, the tide is definitely turning towards more realistic portrayals of shape and size in Irish media, though the journey is not over yet. “The movement towards plus-size has only really happened in Ireland in the last few years," Vicki said in an interview earlier this year with The Irish Independent.

"I have been plus-size modelling for about four years now and at the beginning it was very slow to take off.”

On Saturday night she also addressed those who were quick to judge a plus-size model on her weight. “Everyone is on a journey. You don’t know if that girl you’re judging has just spent the last two hours in the gym, or has lost five stone. So it’s not OK to shame another.”

Sounds like solid advice to us. Whether your natural state is curvy or lean, tall or short, there's no excuse for insulting or shaming what you're not. If there's one change you make this week, let it be that you put yourself in someone else's shoes before making a snap judgement.