Amy Pence-brown has been moderating a popular Facebook group called Boise Rad Fat Collective for years. Now she's being radical IRL.
Sometimes leaving the house in your bathing suit feels like running the gauntlet, but in Amy's case it's really like that. Because she's standing in a farmer's market, not a pool. In front of her is this sign:
So, what happened when she made herself vulnerable to her fellow townspeople? Nice stuff! Which is very surprising, because lots of people are NOT nice and if you've ever fallen asleep first at a slumber party, you'd probably be trepidatious about allowing anyone to anonymously draw on you. But Amy was soon covered in hearts and kind words, and getting hugs from total randos.
On her blog, Amy writes about why it's so important to her to make bodies like her own visible when we're inundated by very specific body types by the media: perfect ones.
You'll see all this in these photos and the video - that the hugs continued, as did the tears, a flower was placed by a young man at my feet, I got a kiss on the cheek and an ice cold lemonade left by my side for when I was done. And, undoubtedly, like me, you will also see other things in these photos - the sweat running down my rolls of back fat, cellulite (on strong legs that have carried me for four decades), a wonky bikini top with sagging breasts (that nourished three babies), stretch marks (that represent my transition from a chubby adolescent to a curvy teenager to a woman who's been pregnant four times), and darkly tanned skin (from a summer spent at the Boise Public Pools with my friends and my children).
She adds that she was inspired by the warm reception she received on the streets of conservative Boise, Idaho. Boise is a very small city compared to say, New York. This experiment would likely go pretty differently depending on where you are, for instance a town where you won't see the people who scribbled on you at the grocery store every day. But one thing is universal: everyone everywhere is quick to participate in public performances that involve a bikini.