I am a plus-sized woman who dared to wear a bikini to the beach for the first time, and here is how I was treated.

When it comes to getting dressed, getting hired, or even going out to eat, people who are overweight often face discrimination. Whether it is intentional or not, stares can be hurtful and can cause insecurity in the person who receives them. Marie Southard Ospina shares her experience as a plus-sized woman at the beach in an article for Bustle.

Given society’s norms regarding thinness and the ideal weight, overweight individuals are often singled out. While there are indeed health problems associated with overweight and obesity, unfounded negative attitudes are rampant. This phenomenon illustrates fatphobia, a hostility towards overweight people based on the idea that they are overweight because of their own fault.

Fatphobia, its impact on daily life.

Critical comments, hostile attitudes, judgmental looks, pity… There are numerous fatphobic reactions from some people. This phenomenon is experienced almost daily by overweight or obese individuals in all areas of their lives. In fact, Le Monde already reported in 2005 that overweight people had to face negative remarks in the medical field, imposed diets (without being asked), or even blood donation refusals, while in the workplace, they had less chance of being hired and promoted. On a daily basis, it is also more difficult for them to dress, take public transportation, have access to life insurance, and even worse, to have their last wishes respected. Viviane Gacquière, president of the Allegro Fortissimo association, which supports and helps overweight people, testified to a feeling of an “anti-fat climate” in France and the impression that the fight against obesity had turned into a fight against obese people.

The testimony of Marie Southard Ospina.

As summer approaches and beach outings become more common, many women go on diets. In contrast, Marie Southard Ospina decided to embrace the trend that every body has a beach body and that everyone should feel confident enough to wear a swimsuit.

Thus, while on vacation in Spain, she decided to wear a two-piece swimsuit for the first time, showing off her curves, cellulite, stretch marks, and scars. Accompanied by her partner, she walked along a crowded beach and noticed various reactions. Some were positive, with people being neutral, not staring at her, or giving her big smiles, while others were more negative.

Marie Southard Ospina also shares a positive aspect of her experience. She noticed that many other plus-sized women were wearing similar swimsuits, and joked that she must have been going to the wrong beaches all this time. This observation gave her a sense of solidarity and empowerment, as it showed her that she was not alone in her body positivity journey.

Written by Matt

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