Influencer Who Was Body-Shamed After Sexy Photo Shoot Responds With Empowering Advice
Sharing intimate, body-positive photos on social media takes courage—and the trolls who leave hateful comments don’t make it any easier. But influencer Bethanie Garcia isn't letting that negativity stop her, she tells Health.
Garcia, along with five other Instagram influencers, recently collaborated with Health's WomenIRL on a campaign that shows how every women's body—regardless of size or shape—is sexy. On September 16, she shared a photo of herself from the campaign that received major feedback from followers. Most cheered on her post, but plenty of trolls decided to leave hurtful remarks, too.
“Confident about this?!! No no no,” one user wrote response to her photo.
“Omg. Either lose weight or don’t. No one cares. No naked pictures required,” another added.
Garcia decided she wasn’t going to let these negative comments slide. In a follow-up post, she shared some of the body-shaming comments she received, adding an empowering message to all of her followers about dealing with this kind of negativity.
“For every THIS, there’s a THAT,” Garcia wrote. “And unfortunately, in this space, in order to reach as many women as possible…in order to get the THAT…there’s always going to be hundreds of the THIS.”
“So, this is me, saying I see you. And I get it. I mean, I don’t get leaving such vile comments on a stranger’s photo (and I’ve received SO much worse than the ones featured here). But I get that I was once in your shoes,” she continued.
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For every THIS, there’s a ?? THAT. ⠀ ⠀ And unfortunately, in this space, in order to reach as many women as possible…in order to get the THAT…there’s always going to be hundreds of the THIS.⠀ ⠀ So, this is me, saying I see you. And I get it. I mean, I don’t get leaving such vile comments on a stranger’s photo (and I’ve received SO much worse than the ones featured here). But I get that I was once in your shoes. I was fat-phobic and didn’t even realize it. I didn’t recognize (or care) about my own thin privilege. In fact, even in more recent years, I thought that because I was a size 12 that there was no thin privilege for me (BOYYY was I wrong). ⠀ ⠀ I’ve been there and I get it. Here’s the thing. We have to do better. We have to do better for the girls reading these comments. We have to do better for our children. We have to do better for OURSELVES. And you have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. Research. Read with an empathetic heart. Start healthy dialogue. Do whatever you need to do in order to DO BETTER.
Garcia explains her decision to post this response, and why she addressed the meanness instead of just ignoring them.
"[I did it] for any women reading those comments that might take those troll’s comments to heart. It’s for the woman struggling to accept and love her body. I respond for her- so she knows that she is beautiful. The trolls won’t stop me and I won’t back down."
Garcia says that leaning on her husband and friends helps her cope with the hate. She wants women to know that standing up to haters helps other women who are experiencing the same sort of body-shaming criticism.
"Your voice matters. If not you, then who? We need your voice in this space," says Garcia. "At the end of the day, no one else’s opinion matters. Fight for what you believe in."
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