PSA: A bikini body is a body with a bikini on.
This is the message one woman shared with the world after being pointed and laughed at when she took off her sarong – as you do – on the beach.
Shelley Proebstel was visiting Mount Maunganui Beach with her friend on January 12, when she was the recipient of some very unwanted attention from a group of idiots.
When the men laughed at her physique, Shelley had a couple of options: Be shamed into covering up, continue with her day emotionally unscathed, or turn the horrible incident into a positive.
The New Zealand blogger opted for the latter, much to the delight of her online followers.
On her blog and Facebook page, Bald and Beautiful, she wrote:
To the guys who pointed and laughed when I took my sarong off today at Mt Maunganui Beach, bearing my soul (my bikini body) to the world, I just want to say (excuse my language but) F*CK YOU.
Shelley went onto document all the nasty consequences of body shaming people. Particularly, she spoke as to how it can affect women, who have been subjected to a particularly narrow beauty ideal for decades.
It’s because of d*ckheads like you that people are so incredibly insecure about their body image.
It’s because of people like you that women especially don’t feel safe or confident or comfortable to go out in society in something like a bikini, or a crop top, or a short dress, or with their midriff showing.
It’s because of people like you that people starve themselves and make themselves sick in an attempt to maintain a ‘model-like figure’.
It’s because of people like you that people wear long sleeves all year round because they are scared to show their arms.
It’s because of people like you that people become anorexic, obese, bulimic, self harm, commit suicide…I could go on. No, you are not responsible for the entirety… But YES, you have to take some responsibility.
Shelley doled out some advice to bullies:
So next time you see someone like me on the beach in a bikini or in a situation similar, before you laugh and point, take a moment to think about the damage you may just do.
Because not every person, young or old, male or female, will have learnt to have the thick skin, or the resilience, or the self confidence, that I do to brush it off.
Admitting she – like most people publicly ridiculed – did have a second of doubt, she concluded:
I won’t lie, there was a split second that I almost quickly covered up again, and then I reminded myself of all I have learnt on this journey, and I held my head high and stuck my belly out and wore that bikini with pride.
The post resonated with a number of her fans and has since garnered 24,000 likes on Facebook, as well as a deluge of supportive comments for the blogger’s desire to speak out and normalise all body types.
Unfortunately, there were some who accused Shelley of promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, having assumed the blogger was not healthy due to her weight.
She quickly set them right by explaining she does yoga, walks long distances with her dogs, does dance classes and works out in the gym three times a week – even though she didn’t have to justify herself at all.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.