Translation of my blog post from july 26th 2012, originally written a few hours after I posted this beach picture on Facebook.
You can contact me on Facebook or Twitter, @lindamariie.
Oh my God. Five hours ago I posted a picture of myself on Facebook. I stand on the beach in a bikini who may have seen its best days three years ago and posing happily. And I'm posting it in the car on the way home. Now: 46 000 likes. Over 1000 emails, 2000 comments and nearly 400 pitches. Why? Only because I did not fit into the body-on-beach-ideal world. Because I'm different.
Right now, I wish I could have predicted this craziness, prepared a speech and could find all that stuff in my head that I want to say. But I want to tell you something. The picture was published for various reasons:
1. I'm so sick of the fact that girls who look like me do not dare put down their summer pictures, do not dare to show how beautiful they are. At least not in my friend feed. The narrow, little girls publish photos of their beach bodies and those with my body shape publishes images of just the ocean. Out of pure fear that people will think their are wrong. Because that's what people think. And people also likes to tell you. I'm not at all saying that narrow bodies are somehow less beautiful, I'm not trying to insinuate that the only large bodies should be published, but in my net world bodies without trained stomachs and marked ribs are underrepresented. I wanted to change that, even it out, today.
2. I think that, despite the fact that girl magazines again and again pretend that they think that "all bodies are equally fine," larger bodies still seems to be a hell of a taboo subject, something that should be hidden under the comprehensive clothing or accepted, but "you know well that it would be healthy if you went down a bit? ". I think it's amazing that it is a substance which is more and more debated, but I do not think that "ordinary" girls, and boys for that matter, dare to take it by force and carry it on.
3. I've hated my body before. And I want to show that it is possible to love everything everyone else says is wrong with you.
I've hated my body to curse. I have cried over it, taken pictures of my stomach and wanted to vomit. I have been bullied for it since I was six. Maybe earlier, I do not remember. But I remember school. I remember what it was like to be called fat girl, I remember what their eyes looked like in the bath house when we where swim practicing every Wednesday. I remember friends of my father sitting on the couch when we had dinner, saying "you really want more?" and looking at my twelve year old body. I remember when I got this blog. When I got YouTube. And all the hatred about how disgusting my double chin was, my thick legs or my calloused arms that came then.
I also remember when I bought the bikini in the picture, the one that was on sale three years ago. I remember how I once thought I looked a bit nice. And how I put a picture of my new bikini on my blog, glad about today's purchase. But what I remember more than the little joy is how someone posted it on a anonymous discussion site. The comments flew back and forth into and few were positive. Well, no comments were positive, actually. It was "fucking fatty," "damn, most disgusting thing I've seen" and "how can a pig like to show off?". I never cried. I reported. But when I saw that the people in my community posted pictures where they laughed at a computer screen with my picture up there, I broke down.
I've been on diets a hundred times over. I went to Weight Watchers, I have counted points, I've done it all. But I will never be small. And I do not want to anymore. I will not change my body when I feel good - I want to be accepted as beautiful. Not okay, not allowed, but just as beautiful as all other bodies. I'm almost grateful for all the fucking hatred I experienced, because it means I have had to be strong. There was no one else to fight for me and my body.
And I LOVE my body. My body FEELS GOOD. I do not eat cake for breakfast and I do not spend my time on the couch every second of the day. I work out, I eat well, I feel fucking great. My body is not unhealthy, that people try to insinuate. My body doesn't wander in some and of obesity, it does not stop me from anything in life and it is NOT disgusting, as people have tried to tell for twenty years. It is a happy, curvy body that I do not want to change a jot longer.
I think the initiatives by girl magazines capabilities are good, but I also think it is inadequate. Nobody looks like a model image, even if the body is said not to be air brushed . My picture ISN'T air brushed, except the effects of instagram. It was taken with a camera phone and it is authentic. It is a happy girl who had just taken the first plunge of the year. And given the completely insane response I received that picture was obviously needed. How is it even possible that a healthy woman's body can affect as many people? Isn't THAT a sign that the world is completely messed up?
Out of the 1000 emails I received the last few hours, 95% is written by girls who really appreciate that I dared. I want to cry. Both because I am grateful for the feedback, is an easily moved person AND because, fuck, isn't showing your vacation pictures something you should be able to do without "being brave enough"? It's insane that people think you should have THE COURAGE to do that. I am so overwhelmed that people really seem to admire that I dared. Dared? That I dared to put up such a picture as everyone else with smaller bodies already have? Yes. Because my body is bigger. And I am truly ready to cry about how many people that writes to me that they skipped the beach with friends because they didn't dare to appear in a bikini. That they opted out of joy because they are ashamed of their bodies. Get it? No one should ever have to CHOOSE joy away because of their body. If it's something I want to show the world it is that I do not care a second about what anyone thinks about my body anymore. It's mine and I love it. It can do anything a slim body can, it feels excellent and it's fucking beautiful. Just like everyone else's are. And therefore, it may also take as much space on the net as everybody else's.
I do not know what's gonna happen now. I was not prepared that any more than maybe my friends would like that picture. But I wanted to influence people - I am a journalist student - and if a picture of my beach body can gain so much attention, I might actually be able to change something in this world. And if it's something I want to change it is the abnormally large, bloody focus we have on what a body should look like or be.
I do not for one second mean that a curvy body is somehow better than a narrow one, which I've seen that some commenters have interpreted it as. My caption was "Well, if people with flat stomachs can post their beach pictures, so can I". But it is not about valuing flat stomaches in any way - it's about the fact that my body type was underrepresented in my vicinity. It was like no one dared to go out there with a few more pounds. I do not want it that way. I want a mix online, just as people of the world are mixed in real life. It should not be braver to show off a big body than a small one. It shouldn't at all require courage to show everything that is beautiful with one self.
My body is not more beautiful than anyone else's - but it is EQUALLY beautiful. I am beautiful. And you, who dare to share, like and tell me about your bodies, you are beautiful - in more than one way.