Tynedria Meneweather Bell and her husband, Pendarius, decided to mark the Christmas holiday with a fun photo shoot.
The Monroe, Louisiana, pair wore matching T-shirts — with Mrs. Bell (for her) and Mr. Bell (for him) etched on the back.
“Me and my husband, we are a happy couple, so we did silly poses with the photographers,” Tynedria told Good Morning America. “He [photographer Keyston Harris] uploaded them on Facebook.”
The happy photos — including one where Tynedria is giving Pendarius a piggy back ride — were meant to be a keepsake for their family, but the photos went viral on social media after they were posted online. The reason: The Bells don’t fit the “typical” idea of what a couple should look like because Tynedria is plus-sized while Pendarius is thin.
But so-called norms don’t fit the pair, who has been together for eight years and married for four. Tynedria and Pendarius are in love — and now they are inspiring others.
“I got all these messages, saying ‘They say plus-size women don’t have any hope in relationships, but if we could do it, anybody else could do it.’ Some said it inspired them to keep pushing when they were thinking about giving up,” Tynedria told The News Star, adding that she’s received several thousand messages and friend requests over the past few days.
One woman told Tynedria that the “fact that you all don’t mind taking pictures, doing silly things and posting them online is amazing. This is a beautiful relationship and I am truly happy for the both of you.”
“Just last night I was telling my aunt I’m never gonna find love because of my weight,” another follower wrote. “You and your husband inspired me to know there’s someone out there for me. Thank you.”
And it’s about time. We’ve made strides toward being a more size-accepting society, but there’s still a rather large stigma that questions why a man would want to date a woman who weighs more than him. Those who do are viewed as fetishists or “chubby chasers,” when that is definitely not the case for many men in love with plus-sized women. People of all sizes deserve to be and feel loved and not have it questioned or dismissed.
All of the positive messages make “me feel excellent,” Tynedria told GMA. “When I was young I was so negative and now I see people looking up to me. For the people that didn’t have faith in themselves, they didn’t need me to boost their ego, but I thank God that they paid attention to me to help do that. They have nothing more to hide or have to be depressed, or stressing. Everybody’s got to be loved.”