“I Posed in a Bikini in Times Square. I Was Expecting Comments from Haters, But What I Actually Heard Was Way More Disheartening.” This article was written by Anna O’Brien, founder of curvy fashion blog Glitter and Lazers was recently featured in Cosmopolitan magazine has been taking the internet by storm. A summary: Anna shares her experience as a larger bodied woman standing in Time Square- she expected to get body shamed, and instead she was sexually harassed and objectified. I sent her a personal story and experience that very few close to me even know. A story I didn’t even want to share with my husband because I had such mixed feelings.
After years of trying to make myself smaller, I was learning to love my body for the beauty it was/is. That summer I had gained quite a bit of weight, but my body gained it all very proportionately maintaining my hourglass, curvy figure but bigger. I went on a trip to Nashville for a fitness conference for a company I used to be a part of leaving behind my husband and two young children for a 4 day trip immersed in diet culture and fitness. I was feeling insecure in an environment where people were either belittling themselves for being naughty/bad for eating certain foods, or patting themselves on the back for getting their body back just in time for Coach summit 2016! It was one of the best yet one of the worst trips I’d been on as I realized that my position in the fitness industry would forever be changed.
Our last night I decided to cut things short and heard back early. I left downtown Nashville alone, wearing high heels and a pink bodycon style dress when a man yelled out his suv window “BBW!!!” I had no clue what it meant. I made eye contact with him and he nodded “yeahhhhh girl” and kept going with his friends. They came back, driving slower, and I crossed the street where there were more people to get lost in a crowd. They didn’t come back.
I continued to walk away from the downtown area I had another vehicle do the same sketchy circle. I was so nervous and felt like taking off my heels and running and regret not taking a cab.
I got back to my hotel safely and was so thankful something didn’t happen, that catcalls and slow drive-bys were the worst. I changed into my pj’s and looked up “BBW”. My google search unveiled curvaceous, scantily clad female bodies being sexually exploited for someone’s desires. My face burned with shame and I felt sick, not flattered by someone’s degrading remarks. There I was- a mom of 2, married and enjoying my first solo trip in YEARS and I found myself wishing more than anything my husband was there to validate that I wasn’t seeking attention, that I was finally making peace with my body and talk me out of self-blame. I blamed myself for wearing a dress that drew attention. It was confusing as I was going through so much change with my mental state and perception of my body. It opened my eyes to the simple fact that sexualization and harassment doesn’t discriminate despite what you think about the current state of your body. It opened my eyes to the fact I wasn’t wearing something to invite comments and terrified me to think of many women who had been told to “cover up” to avoid the attention of the opposite sex or been blamed for worse- sexual assault, simply because they wore an outfit.
We are all humans, worthy of respect, dignity and safety.