A Des Moines-based television anchor shared a swimsuit photo on Independence Day to encourage self-confidence in people who sometimes feel negatively about their bodies.
It began on Memorial Day when Erin Kiernan, an anchor with WHO-DT in Iowa, shared an essay called "Put On Your Own Damn Swimsuit." In the essay, author Alice Seuffert explained how she overcame her body image struggles during the summer swimsuit months.
Although Kiernan posted the essay to inspire others, she soon realized that she was fighting the same struggle herself. After feeling "frustrated and ashamed and angry," she posted to Facebook an old bikini photo that she called "Average Erin."
"The thing is — when I first saw this picture I was horrified," Kiernan wrote on Facebook. "My inner dialogue went like this ... 'Cellulite! Huge thighs! Stretch marks! Blech!'"
In the Facebook post, Kiernan said that her reaction mirrroed the body image struggles that many people experience.
"Every day in the dressing room at work I hear, 'Oh my GAWD - my thighs! Ugh...my hair! Ew - look at this gut! Geesh, these wrinkles!' These comments are coming out of the mouths of some of the smartest, strongest, most talented and beautiful women I know," she said.
After overcoming bulimia in college, Kiernan became an advocate for body positivity. She often addresses similar issues during weekly television segments. And a few months ago, she famously stood up to trolls who shamed her photo on Facebook.
On Independence Day, Kiernan declared her independence from body negativity with her Facebook post, which received over 6,000 likes in two days.
"I'm going to try to monitor both my inner dialogue and what I say out loud in an effort to eradicate this sort of negativity," she wrote. "Not just for myself - but for my son. I want him to be surrounded by people who value others for their hearts and minds, not their appearance."