A ‘Courageous Beauty’

It’s hard to go social media without seeing pictures of celebrities in tiny bikinis or revealing outfits, flaunting their impossibly skinny figures. It’s just as hard to look at your own physique and not feel inadequate, overweight, abnormal or even ugly after seeing such pictures. But it has become one woman’s mission to show women of all shapes and sizes that they beautiful and adequate just as they are.

Yahoo Beauty shared a recent interview from Touchvision with writer and body image advocate Brittany Gibbons, who not only runs her own website called Brittany, Herself, but has also recently released her own book entitled Fat Girl Walking. Gibbons also made headlines for her TED talk called “Courageous Beauty” in which she spoke on “the reinvention of beauty and body acceptance,” stripping down to only a bathing suit in front of a packed audience to support her point. In her interview, Gibbons spoke on growing up as a “fat” child in the ’80s, saying, “‘I think that now you have such targeted body shame happening across the board, and that just didn’t exist in the ‘80s.'” She also explained that the Internet plays a significant role in the perpetuation of body shame today, whereas when she was growing up, “‘you [weren’t] always slapped in your face by social media back then.'”

Upon the conclusion of her interview, Gibbons discussed being hailed as ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’ for not only appearing in front of an audience in her bathing suit, but also modeling bikinis as a plus-size woman. Gibbons explained, “There are many brave acts in this world and I don’t know if putting on a bikini is one of them,” saying she does it so others can feel more normal and comfortable in their own skin as a result of seeing her pictures.

The physical act of putting on a bikini may not in itself be ‘courageous’ or ‘brave’ — countless women all over the world of varying shapes and sizes have done the same thing for years. But donning a bikini to begin to change the way women think and feel about themselves is courageous. It is brave to try to turn around a culture that tells women they’re abnormal if they are any larger than a size zero. Gibbons is teaching women by her own example that true beauty is size-less, ageless and shapeless; she is instead teaching us that true beauty has everything to do with accepting yourself and nothing to do with how the world defines beauty.

Putting herself out there as a model (figuratively and literally) of real, owned beauty is courageous. And for that we commend you, Brittany Gibbons. You are truly living the inspired life.

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