In an age where Victoria’s Secret models are viewed as an ideal, 31 women sent in their images to prove otherwise.
Gabi Gregg, a writer for xojane.com, posted a request for the images, to inspire women with similar bodies as her own (a U.S. size 18) to feel good about wearing a bikini.
Ms Gregg wrote: ‘Our culture is so obsessed with having a “beach ready bod,” that the mere idea of someone my size in a swimsuit, let alone a bikini, is shocking to most.’
She continued: ‘I know first-hand how inspiring it can be to see people with bodies that look similar to my own feeling confident and happy on the beach in something other than a Hawaiian-print skirted one piece’
The bikini has come to inspire both dread and awe as our culture increasingly enshrines physical perfection through magazine features that encourage women to be bikini-ready for summer, and the constant trolling of other women by women.
Rather than being a statement about health, which it could have easily turned into, the gallery appears to be an endorsement of diversity, and an statement that no one particular size or shape of woman has a monopoly on being considered attractive or even ‘normal’.
The women featured in the gallery look vibrant and confident, regardless of their body-shapes or sizes.
While the writer and fashion blogger has received a wave of support from readers who applaud her confidence, some have been quick to judge.
There have been comments that Ms Gregg isn’t ‘flabby’ enough to be self-conscious, and her ‘toned, hourglass-shaped’ body makes it easier for her to put a picture of herself online.
Another commenter wrote: ‘I will be the combo breaker cause the sugar coating sometimes needs to stop. Sure you can love your body and flaunt it proudly, but objectively some girls needs to realize when an outfit just DOESN’T GO WITH YOUR BODY TYPE. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit right. Sorry, but it’s just how fashion goes, for thick and thin bodies.’
Ms Gregg, who posted the article today, tweeted earlier: ‘Already annoyed by the xojane comments. and I know they’re only going to get worse as the general public finds the article.’
Of her own body, Ms Gregg said: ‘I do acknowledge that I have some level of body privilege (but um, for the record: I totally have flab, stretch marks and cellulite, you just can’t see it in the photos I posted due to the high waisted bottoms and the distance of the shots).’
She added: “Hopefully this gallery, which features lots of body diversity, proves that it’s not only “toned” fat girls who can feel confident hitting the beach in a two piece.”