Imagine going to the store to try on a bikini and getting told by a fellow shopper that you should not be wearing a bikini due to your size. This is what Jessica Portelli was met with earlier in the month, when she was at Matalan’s Brighton, England location. Portelli did not allow this woman’s words stop her, however, as she went to the dressing room, and soon back out in the bikini to confront the rude woman who fat shamed her. She told the woman that “Girls like you shouldn’t tell girls like me what we can’t do” before returning to her dressing room to snap a quick picture.
Portelli posted the picture on her FaceBook page, with a longer response to the woman and other women who have fat shamed people previously. In her online message, she began by saying she loved her body, “biiiigggg tummy with tiger stripes” and all. She went on to scold the woman, pointing out that the comment could have seriously hurt other women. Portelli pointed out that any women who may have finally worked up the courage to put on a bikini could have had their confidence destroyed because of that comment. She added that size is not what makes women sexy; it is her confidence. She ended the post thanking the woman who fat shamed her, pointing out it got her a discount on her new bikini.
Portelli makes a great point; a women’s size should not be her biggest identifying factor. No women should be told that they should not wear something just because they have a certain body type. What really matters is that you are happy with your body and that you feel confident enough to wear whatever you want, including a bikini. Portelli’s post has been shared thousands of times by like-minded individuals who praised Portelli for how she handled the situation. One man’s comment was particularly heartwarming, as he told Portelli that beauty is not defined by your dress size, but the size of your heart.
Other user pointed out that many young girls these days suffer from eating disorders due to being fat shamed by people. Another user commented that even if somebody is not completely happy with their body, nobody has the right to be cruel to them about it.
Imagine what it feels like to be fat shamed by anybody, let alone a complete stranger in the middle of a store. It is a rude, gross, cruel thing to do and it needs to stop. Nobody has the right to tell another human being that they can or cannot do or wear something just because of their size. Everyone deserves to be able to be themselves and love their bodies without fear of criticism. This incident comes in a time where beauty standards are finally beginning to truly change; plus size women like Ashley Graham, Melissa McCarthy and Tess Holiday are proving that size is truly just a number. What really defines you as a person is how you present yourself, the confidence you show, and your compassion.