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It is Brave

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After it seemed that Winter would never end, Spring has finally arrived… YAY! With it comes the shedding of coats, jackets, sweater and all manners of clothing behind which bodies have been hidden. Unfortunately, with it also comes the body shaming.

From Facebook posts, Instagram photos and endless articles on how to hide one’s “flaws”, some people feel they have the right to dictate or pass judgement how others dress.

Singer Michael Bublé came under fire for posting a photo of a woman wearing shorts that showed her butt cheeks with the hashtags #myhumps #babygotback #hungryshorts #onlyinmiami #picoftheday #beautifulbum. Not exactly shaming, however the picture was apparently taken without the woman’s knowledge or consent. Now it’s all over the internet. While a lot of people have come to her defense, a lot are also saying that, if she wanted to avoid publicity or ridicule she shouldn’t have dressed like that… in other words, she was “asking for it”.

Body shaming isn’t limited to fat people (the woman in Bublé’s photo is slender) but we do bear the brunt of it. Do a Google search of “fat hate” and you’ll find hundreds of sites, blogs and pages dedicated to posting photos of fat people (usually taken without knowledge or consent) for the online world to make fun of. For all I know somewhere out there is a picture of me, secretly taken, doing nothing but sitting on a bus or simply living my life. Frankly, I don’t give a fuck if there is but it took a while for me to get to this point.

The fabulous Jessica Kane, founder of SKORCH magazine and blogger at The Life and Style of Jessica, recently posted a picture of herself in a bathing suit with the caption “THIS WAS NOT BRAVE”. She explains that wearing a bathing suit in public without a cover-up would only be brave if she didn’t care what others thought of her. She also goes on to say “Things that DO take bravery? A family battling tragic illness, a mother trying to beat addiction, a person trying to break free of domestic violence, reaching out for help when you have already planned your suicide and feel like you can’t breath one more day. THAT is brave.”

It’s a powerful statement and I would agree with it 100% except that it does take a certain type of bravery to get to that point of not caring what people think about you or the way you dress. It is brave to go outdoors for the first time in shorts, swimsuit or anything that bares your fat arms, legs or stomach. It is brave to face up to someone who makes fun of your size without dissolving into tears or letting it ruin your day. It is brave to claim the word “fat” as descriptive and not as an insult. It is brave to look in the mirror and, for once, find something beautiful in your reflection. It is brave to eat an ice cream cone (or pretty much anything that’s not a salad) in public and ignore the stares. It is brave to hear family and friends suggest that you lose weight (for “health” reasons of course) and say “I like my body the way it is”.

You have the right to wear what makes you feel comfortable and awesome. You have the right to live your life fully without shame or ridicule. If you’re nowhere near the “I don’t give a fuck” point, it’s not easy but I encourage you to be brave.

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