You know, I find some odd things when I get to looking around the Internet, just following links and such. I was wandering around the Fox News site today and ran across a story about a picture going viral, a picture of a plus-sized woman wearing a bikini. I had to take a look. Not because I had a need to gawk or ridicule, not because I wanted to laugh at the woman who proudly put her body and her soul in front of millions, possibly billions of strangers.
I followed the link because I’m plus-sized too, and this was something I felt I needed to see. If you need to see it, too, here’s the link to the specific picture and her comments, which I applaud her for.
What struck me most about the picture is her smile. Her beautiful, amazingly perfect smile.
Normally commenting on a person’s smile is a subtle form of insult. Particularly if the person in question is female and built larger than is conventionally considered attractive. It’s the visual equivalent of “she has such a sweet spirit” that I heard so many times growing up, words that meant that there was literally nothing else positive worth saying. Words that stung far worse than any conventional insult could because they felt dishonest. It was a social requirement to compliment people, even if you hated them, even if they were the most useless, worthless, rotten pieces of human-shaped offal on the whole planet. Gosh darn it, you had to say something nice, though.
But looking at that picture… I love her smile.
There’s joy there, and self-acceptance, and a beauty that envelops the physical and transcends it in a way that makes her shine and I envy her that smile, that hard-won happiness with herself and her body. I envy her courage in standing up and presenting herself for the ridicule that she knew was likely to result. I envy her strength in turning the argument around on those who would so snidely insult her.
She’s a beautiful woman, with a smile that outshines the sun, and I would rather look at her than at twenty conventionally beautiful women because she’s real and she gives me hope.
I don’t have an account through that particular media, so I couldn’t leave her a message. I can only hope that someone who does sees this and lets her know how much I admire her. She is the sort of woman that girls need to emulate, her courage, her hope, her strength of conviction and her stubborn determination to do what is right for herself.
The great beauties of all time; Aphrodite, Helen, Cleopatra, and her.
Edit Note: I just found the comment form on her site. She deserves all the praise in the world.