A woman has taken to social media to shut down body shamers by creating collages of photos of herself combined with screenshots of negative tweets.
Sara Petty was fed up seeing people body-shame plus-sized women by telling them what they can and cannot wear, so she decided to make a statement. She began searching phrases such as "200 pounds bikini" and "200 pounds leggings" on Twitter and taking screenshots of the tweets she found.
Then, Petty took a photo of herself in a bikini or leggings, depending on the subject of the tweets, and made a collage of the shaming tweets alongside the photo of herself.
Each tweet was captioned, "Girls: Wear whatever the hell you want."
Petty spoke to Mic about her social media project.
"It was kind of scary because I knew I could possibly subject myself to a lot more body shaming and hate, but I knew there had to be some empowerment in being vulnerable and proving to myself that no one else's opinion of my weight matters," she said. "There is such a stigma around 200 pounds, unfortunately, as if it is some magic number that dictates when a woman can or can't be attractive."
Fortunately, Petty received a lot of support for what she is doing. She received tens of thousands of likes and retweets on each post and gained a number of followers who support her message.
"I've gotten my fair share of body-shamers and haters and the occasional crude sexual comment, but the responses have been overwhelmingly positive," Petty said. "Girls have said I inspired them to wear what outfits they would have been scared to wear or that they felt more confident in their bodies after seeing the tweet."
Petty said that the posts helped herself, in addition to helping others.
"The post helped me become a little bit more OK with seeing that number on the scale, and I hoped that it would help other girls, too," she said. "I hope that my post moved us just one step closer to being a society where girls can wear what they please without being afraid of ridicule."
Readers shared their thoughts on the a Facebook page.
"If a women is comfortable with herself she should wear what she likes," one reader commented. "You are obviously comfortable with your self so don't listen to the negative comments."
"And I'm betting after posting this, her phone or Twitter account blew up with admirers," another user wrote. "There will always be haters no matter what. They have a dark heart. Pay no attention to them whatsoever. You are above them. Wishing you well in what ever you do. Lovely looking young lady."
"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder & everyone is beautiful in their own way," another reader added. "So Sara don't let anyone say you aren't beautiful. Belief you are beautiful and don't bother with the negativity others may throw at you."