Bikinis, Facebook and Feelings

Last summer, I posted this picture on my Facebook wall:

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I’d been on vacation in Bermuda with my family, and we were just winding up an awesome day spent snorkelling and kayaking. We all had that sun-weary, sticky, salty skin feeling and this picture perfectly captured how happy we were to have had such a great time together. It was the kind of day you know your kids will remember into adulthood and tell their kids about. I also thought it was pretty funny that my son is holding a gigantic bottle of rum. That’s why I posted it.

I knew I’d get comments. But I wasn’t expecting derogatory remarks about my body, made on my Facebook wall, for everyone to see.

“Someone feed Liz a Big Mac” was one.

“With extra cheese” was another.

All of my life, I’ve struggled with my body image.

For me to post a picture of myself in a bikini was a big deal, because contrary to popular belief, being slim doesn’t automatically grant you a huge dose of self-confidence and the belief that your body is beautiful. I have fought against negative self-talk for as long as I can remember, and those suggestions to eat a Big Mac made me feel bad; the courage I’d mustered to post the picture in the first place was replaced with shame: I knew it, I look awful.

I should clarify that I don’t think there was any malicious intent in those comments. In fact, I think they were likely perceived as compliments.

But I wish people would just say what they mean.

If you think I look fit, or healthy, or good, or happy, just say that.

But if you don’t have anything nice to say, then please don’t say anything at all.

Comments

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18 Comments

  • I know how you feel about body image for two reasons. My daughter is really thin and I receive comments all the time, like, are you feeding that child. Growing up, I had the opposite problem. I think as women, we all have some kind of insecurity about ourselves and receiving comments doesn’t help the matter. Read my blog post link, that I left above, if you have the chance.

    • Hi Shelley- I’m so happy you were able to relate to my blog and I did read yours as well. Thanks for reading and for sharing your story!

  • From a young age I have always admired you! You have taught me to be a determined, intelligent, positive women and I know I can always count on you when I am having a crappy day about my own self image and anything else that seems to plague women at any given moment! I commend you for being so honest in your writing and I think you are beautiful inside and out. I thank you for being you and for being so amazing!

  • I think this is a very important post. People usually make assumptions that body image has to do solely with being overweight. I know many woman who are not overweight and struggle. And I also know women who are overweight, but who adore themselves, their bodies and their folds and curves.
    I too have admired you for your inside and out since we met. Thank you for sharing this important story.

  • Over and above the body image issue, I think the most troubling is actually the fact that commenting on Facebook some people allow themselves to say/post things they would NEVER say if they were face to face with you. This contributes to the electronic bullying that occurs – not matter the topic- which in my mind is the real concern.

    • Hi Marie-France-
      I totally agree that people take liberties with what they say online – which absolutely contributes to the bullying epidemic we’re having now.
      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

  • I think you posted the pic because you are proud of your body. I think you need to own up to that fact and not hide behind the “family” as the reason you posted it. It comes across as disingenuous.

    • Hi Jill, it’s unfortunate that you missed the message I was trying to convey. I pride myself on my authenticity and this post was some insight into a bit of my vulnerability. Thanks for reading.

  • Jill, Not quite sure what the purpose of your message is? Had you met Liz in person would you have said this to her? My guess is not! Perhaps this should serve as a guideline…

  • What a beautiful family photo! I must say that you look absolutely beautiful and fit, I’ll be honest, I’m totally jealous of your amazing abs 😉 If only people knew that you work very hard to maintain such a beautiful figure. Congratulations on getting the courage to post such an awesome photo and making all those Facebook users feel envious xoxo

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