Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: The Bikini.

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I thought I looked better than my friend that one day we went to the swimming pool together just because I was wearing a one-piece swimsuit and she was wearing a bikini. This friend was fat.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I fat-shamed a friend a mine who wore a bikini to the pool.

When I first moved into the neighborhood, it took me a while to make a group of friends that actually lived close to me, and although I had some friends in the apartment building I lived in, I didn’t really have much that was my own age, let alone in my own grade. Not until I met a new friend, a fat friend.

After years of being the fat friend to a group of skinny girls, it was nice to have a friend that looked like me. They understood how it felt like to be disposable just because of their size; they knew how it felt to be considered the “weakest link” in the girl group because of their size. As friends, we conquered the world.

So when that summer came and we both decided to go to the community pool in our neighborhood, we were excited.

Since we were young, we did need some parental supervision on our girl’s day out. My mom dressed me in my one-piece navy blue swimsuit, picked up my friend, and went to the pool to have a great time.

My friend didn’t care what kind of swimsuit I had, but I couldn’t stop staring at the lack of swimsuit they had on. They had on a bikini. From what I recall, I believe it was a pink and purple bikini, which in hindsight I thought was a very pretty bikini, I was just telling myself I wished it wasn’t on them. 

Without a care in the world, my friend swam and enjoyed herself at the pool, and so did I. Seeing them with that bikini on, I didn’t feel so disgustingly fat next to them. I had confidence standing next to a friend for once in my life, and I felt superior.

Every time this person got out of the water to take a break, I laughed at them for thinking they looked cute with that bikini on their body.

Why would Mary* ever think that she looked good in that bikini? Her whole stomach is sticking out!

I know I didn’t know any better back then, and maybe seeing them in this bikini so carefree and happy made me jealous that another fat person loved their body, but I should’ve known that thinking it, even saying it out loud, was wrong. 

If a young, insecure child was able to think this about another child, what do you think how everyone else around them thought when seeing them? Were they saying the same thing? Of course. Were they looking at them thinking this child doesn’t realize she can’t wear that because she’s fat? Most definitely. At the end of the day, even at a young age, the restrictions of what I could or couldn’t wear because of my body were already known, and I knew that bikinis were not meant for fat people.

Oh, Little Liz, how naive, insecure, and cruel you were. 

At 25, I still believe that my body and my body only is not meant to be in a bikini. Maybe I’m just not that in love with my body just yet. Maybe I’m just more comfortable with covering my stomach up, who the hell cares, but that doesn’t mean that bikinis are not for every type of body.

As I got older, more fat women have embraced their bodies for what they are and started to wear as what we like to call a “fatkini”. It’s bikinis for fat people. Was the idea still laughed at by people who believe that bikinis are a skinny person’s privilege? Of course, but did these women care? Hell no. The more progressive we’ve become, the more women started to flaunt their bodies in ways that made them feel sexy and confident, and if a fat girl in a bikini makes a fat girl feel sexy, then that’s a fat girl in a bikini and we leave her the hell alone. 

So, maybe my friend was more progressive than me in a sense. Maybe I was just more insecure and rude and an example of a fat girl fat-shaming another fat girl. I was an example of how society wired us to believe fat is ugly and fat shouldn’t be shown in the world.

I hope that girl is still out here in the summer, showing her fat body and throwing up her middle fingers to the people who just don’t want fatness to be an okay thing to have.

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