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This lady's highly effective 'earlier than and after' photographs crush myths about physique positivity.


Michelle Elman, a physique positivity coach, helps people who find themselves struggling to seek out confidence in their very own pores and skin.

After persevering by quite a few medical situations and surgical procedures in her personal life, Elman realized a couple of years in the past that physique positivity wasn’t nearly measurement or weight. Issues like scars, birthmarks, or the rest that makes us really feel completely different of self-conscious needs to be part of the dialog, and she or he tries to make the motion accessible to everybody.

Sharing her personal journey has been certainly one of her simplest educating instruments.

She lately shared a put up on Instagram of herself attempting on a costume she purchased 5 years in the past to be able to show a robust level.

Within the first photograph, from 2012 — when she was a measurement 12, she says — she’s sporting a measurement 14 costume. Within the new photograph, she’s sporting the identical costume, although she says she usually wears a measurement 20.

The costume nonetheless match.

NUMBERS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING. I found a dress in my cupboard the other day that I had since I was in sixth form. The dress is a size 14. I bought it 5 years ago when I was a size 12. Now, I’m a size 20. And yet, I still fit it. Which just proves that NUMBERS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING. So are you really going to let a change a dress size dictate your day? Are you really going to let an increase in a number affect your mood? Same dress. Still comfortable. Still beautiful. (In fact, I think I look better and happier now!) A higher dress size doesn’t mean: – you are less beautiful – you are less worthy – you are less lovable – you are a worse human – you are a bad person – you are a different person AND it doesn’t even mean you have a bigger body. You could go up a dress size by simply changing stores… (or countries). You can change dress sizes because of the time of the day or simply due to whether you are on your period or not. If you look at your cupboard and you find it harder and harder to find something to wear because of a change in clothing size, I have a great solution for you… throw out all clothes that don’t fit. Looking at your wardrobe shouldn’t be something that makes you feel insecure and sad so make sure everything in your wardrobe fits! Numbers don’t matter. Not the number on the back of your jeans, on the scale or even the number in your bank account. You are not a number. #OneTakeBeauty #BodyPositivity EDIT: For anyone saying I’m lying about my size. Check my stories

A put up shared by Michelle Elman (@scarrednotscared) on Could 29, 2017 at eight:07am PDT

“NUMBERS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING,” she wrote within the put up. “So are you actually going to let a change [in] costume measurement dictate your day? Are you actually going to let a rise in a quantity have an effect on your temper?”

“A better costume measurement doesn’t suggest: — you’re much less stunning — you’re much less worthy — you’re much less lovable — you’re a worse human — you’re a unhealthy individual — you’re a completely different individual AND it does not even imply you could have a much bigger physique.”

The photograph impressed hundreds of individuals and went viral. Whereas an enormous majority of the feedback have been constructive, there was nonetheless one thing bugging Elman in regards to the response.

Not everybody was getting the best message.

“Because the creation of this account, I’ve all the time been advised I am stunning ‘for my measurement’ and I by no means wished to speak about it as a result of I assumed I used to be being pedantic however finally determined to talk my thoughts about it,” she mentioned in an e-mail.

She determined to create a follow-up put up to set a couple of issues straight about what physique positivity actually means.

Within the second put up, she took a distinct method to the “earlier than and after” photographs we see so typically on Instagram. Individuals liked it.

Picking up on a few of the comments from yesterday’s post. “You look good for a size 20” – This is not a compliment. It’s like saying that an older woman looks good “for her age”. Who says size 20 women can’t look good? Who says older women can’t look good? It’s ALSO an insult to all my other size 20 babes. When you say I look good for a size 20, it usually means I look skinnier than a size 20 which still sends the message: thin = good, fat = bad. “You are lying, you aren’t a size 20” – I am a U.K. Size 20. It is a fact that changes depending on which store but the majority of my clothes are size 20. That is a fact. This assumption that I’m lying is contingent on your perception of what a size 20 looks like. This perpetuates the idea that fat equals ugly or unattractive which is most definitely DOES NOT! “You distorted camera angles + edited it to look skinnier” – It was not a preprepared photo that I planned from 5 years ago so yes different angles but it’s the only photo I had in the dress. The photo from 2012 had a filter because another person took that photo. The one from 2017 is not edited/filtered in anyway. These assumptions are based on the fact I have something to hide. NOT HIDING. Right here telling you my dress size. “You aren’t even fat. You should stop invalidating the struggles of actual fat women and taking away from the movement” – I don’t know what you deem as “actual fat” but both my weight + my dress size indicates I am. I use the word fat because it’s not an insult. When you tell me I’m not allowed to use a word that describes me, when I experience the marginalisation of anyone in my size, that invalidates MY experience of being fat-bodied. In terms of taking away from the movement, you’ll be hard pushed to find another mixed-race, not able-bodied, fat scarred woman talking about chronic illness and chronic pain and THAT representation matters. In summary, if people tell you they are a certain size, believe them. They are the ones picking out their clothes! You can be the same dress size + look bigger/smaller as shown in the two photos above! Whatever your size, you look good for your size 😉 #scarrednotscared #onetakebeauty

A put up shared by Michelle Elman (@scarrednotscared) on Could 31, 2017 at 7:08am PDT

Within the caption of the put up, Elman addresses a few issues well-meaning individuals received flawed in regards to the message she was attempting to unfold. Some commenters mentioned she appeared “skinnier” within the 2017 photograph which, although meant as a praise, simply reinforces that being skinny is in some way higher.

Others mentioned she wasn’t fats sufficient, to which Elman may solely scoff.

“If individuals let you know they’re a sure measurement, imagine them,” she wrote.

“Individuals assume that physique positivity is about attempting to persuade folks that greater our bodies are enticing, both bodily or sexually,” she says.

However that is completely lacking the purpose of what her work is all about.

“If you’re nonetheless relating your love to your physique to society’s notion of magnificence,” she says, “then you’re nonetheless reliant on another person’s opinion. Physique positivity is about saying that you’re greater than a physique and your self value will not be reliant in your magnificence.”

Her second put up is at the moment sitting at over 26,000 likes on Instagram — a transparent signal that it is a message many people desperately wanted to listen to.

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