Photo: Jessica Kane/Facebook
Jessica Kane wore a bathing suit to the beach. Those going to the beach not wearing bathing suits are the ones that stand out. But for some reason—I think I know why—she was applauded for doing something completely normal and expected.
Kane, who is a blogger and businesswoman, shared a photo of herself in a navy one-piece with pink detailing. Her blonde hair is styled in a chic, messy bob, she’s wearing strappy sandals, and mirrored aviator sunglasses. But instead of noticing her advanced fashion sense—it’s seriously hard to look good when there’s so much sand around—she was called “brave” for simply dressing appropriately for the setting. In response, she captioned the image:
THIS WAS NOT BRAVE. I’ve been told how brave I am for not having a coverup, but going with out a wrap would only take bravery if I cared what others thought of me, but I don’t. I spend my time worrying about things I CAN control and this day, I was only thinking about how fab I felt and how much sun I was catching Things that DO take bravery? A family battling tragic illness, a mother trying to beat addiction, a person trying to break free of domestic violence, reaching out for help when you have already planned your suicide and feel like you can’t breath one more day. THAT is brave. Not wearing a swimsuit at the beach. LIVE life and only worry about what really matters .
Sing it, sister. The post went up on Tuesday, and has since collected more than half a million “likes,” nearly 50,000 shares, and a similar amount of comments. A resounding amount of those sounding off echoed each other with phrases such as, “you’re beautiful,” “you look awesome,” “you go girl,” and “I love your swimsuit, where can I get it?” The few trolls that chimed in (one example being, “On the subject of things you can control. How many out of control calories landed in your stomach that day? Can we stop pretending that fat isn’t a choice?”) were put in their place by protective users.
Kane isn’t the only one to follow fashion convention and have it mutated into a BIG FREAKING DEAL. When mother of five Tanis Jex-Blake shared a bikini selfie of her stretch-marked stomach last year, her photo went viral. “I’m sorry if my first attempt at sun tanning in a bikini in public in 13 years ‘grossed you out’,” Jex-Blake wrote in “an open letter” to the two men and one woman who mocked her. Blogger and novelist Jenny Trout wrote a poignant and very popular essay last summer titled, Fat Woman Wears Bikini in Public, Earth’s Orbit Unaffected.
Celebrities and brands have also hopped on the body positivity bandwagon. Pink shut down trolls that went after her for gaining weight. Chrissy Teigen posted an Instagram of her stretch marks with the caption, “Stretchies say hi!” Rebel Wilson wore tight leather leggings, a crystal encrusted bra, and wings taking on Victoria’s Secret unrealistic body standards. Lane Bryant’s most recent campaign, #ImNoAngel, directly targeted the lingerie giant. And plus-size clothing retailers as a whole are becoming more fashionable, having louder voices, and catering to their customer. These industry changes have also influenced straight-sized lines to be more inclusive, such as Target including larger sizes in their Lilly Pullitzer for Target collaboration.
This charge of voices lead the way in dispelling the fact that just because one’s not a Kendall Jenner, doesn’t mean they can’t love their bodies, accept themselves the way they are, and even go so far as to flaunt it. With summer approaching and swimsuit season in full-force, it’s time for everyone to follow Kane’s lead and not give a flying eff what others think about your body—there’s really only one opinion that truly matters.