As part of her training for the New York City Marathon, Michelle Kirk was jogging and pushing her 18-month-old daughter in a stroller one evening when a strange man stopped her.
According to Kirk, he said, "Hey, not for nothing, but you need a new sports bra. Your boobs are sagging."
"And then he goes on to tell me that if I continue running, the muscle fibers in my breasts are going to break down and my boobs are going to sag even more," she continued in an interview with SELF. "And they're already heading south [and he doesn't think] I want them to head south even more."
Kirk was taken aback by the stranger's unsolicited and unnecessary opinion. At first, she didn't know what to say.
While she thought about honoring her hometown and "going all New York on him," the sun was setting and Kirk worried about being alone in a tense situation in the dark.
Once she was able to gather her thoughts, she said, "I'm so sorry but all my non-boob sagging bras are in the wash today. It was either this one or no bra." Apparently, her demure, yet decisive, response wasn't enough to end the unsavory conversation. "He continued talking, and I don't know what he was saying," Kirk told the publication, "I just tried getting out there as soon as possible."
She sprinted away, filled with anger. To calm herself down, she called a friend for support. Kirk wanted to turn back around and confront the man, but her friend advised against it.
Instead of wasting her breath on the sexist stranger, she wrote a public body-positive response on Facebook.
Underneath Kirk's sportswear selfie, complete with a middle finger, she wrote:
"To the nasty old man who stopped me mid run to inform me that I need to get a better sports bra because my boobs are sagging and will only sag more if I continue to run ... fuck you. You are the reason why women have insecurities. If you don't like the way my boobs 'sag' when I run, then don't look! I will NEVER stop doing what I love and I love myself way [too] much to have your hate bring me down!"
With Kirk's energetic message of self-love, she hopes to inspire women everywhere, including her own daughter.
"Society has this crazy image of how we should look, how we should feel, and I think people need to shy away from that because that's not what it's about," she told SELF. "Women need to bring each other up and compliment each other, and we've got to stop this body shaming … [and] men need to realize that all women are beautiful, too."
Since Kirk posted the picture on July 11, it has since been viewed over 2,000 times and shared 160 times. Through building people up, her voice has become so much louder than the one who tried to tear her down.
Cover image via Facebook