Too often, women who show off their conventionally attractive bodies are called "beautiful" while women put their seemingly "imperfect" bodies on display are called "brave," as if showing who they are is a courageous act. Well, body positive blogger Kenzie Brenna has had enough.
"I love how people see me in full clothes and comment on how 'skinny' I look in them in comparison to these types of photos where the comments I get 'you're so brave,' " she captioned a recent Instagram photo showing her bare stomach, rolls and all.
Two days before this post, Brenna shared a photo of herself in jeans and long-sleeved shirt and got comments that told her how "gorgeous" and "tiny" she is. "You literally have the perfect body," one person wrote.
"Bravery requires an act of courage," Brenna wrote. "Courage isn't a characteristic we find in ourselves unless we are doing something out of strength, where the odds are stacked against us. You don't tell a Victoria's Secret model that 'they're so brave' for showing off their body or someone who is sculpted from a type of athleticism. Bravery requires an acknowledgement of fear, possibility of loss, where chances of failure are high."
She doesn't feel "brave" when she shows others who she is. She just feels like herself, and she wishes people would start seeing how problematic it is to call being yourself an act of bravery.
"I just exist. I just sit here, discuss my insecurities, and get better at loving myself," she continued. "WE'VE MADE OUR BODIES AN UNSAFE PLACE TO EXIST. We've culturally made it UNSAFE TO BE OURSELVES. THAT IS WHY, when I sit crossed legged showing you a body that is underrepresented in our media I get hailed as doing an act of bravery. Because we acknowledge that there may be social failure in this, I may be attacked, I may get hurt JUST BY BEING MYSELF."
Brenna went on to encourage her followers to acknowledge how wrong this behavior is and hopes to help change the way we think about people showing who they are, even if who they are doesn't fit into our society's idea of conventional beauty. She later edited the post to broaden this idea to be more inclusive.
"We need to make it safer for people to exist in their bodies, black, fat, queer, trans, disabled people need to know they have a right to be themselves," she wrote.
We really, really do.
(H/T: Teen Vogue)