Sadly, the internet is full of body-shamers looking to tear others down. But one woman is standing up to her critic with an important message.
Fitness trainer and motivational speaker Jessi Kneeland posted a photo of herself on Instagram Monday, which shows her stretching at the gym.
“Oh hey there, have you met my fancy fat? It's these pretty dimples along the back of my legs and butt,” she wrote in the post, referring to the cellulite visible on her thigh. “Some people think fancy fat is 'bad,' and will try to convince you to get rid of yours, but we know better. Fancy fat is just a natural, healthy, built-in decoration. (Or at least that's how I choose to see it),” she continued.
As a body image coach, Kneeland encourages her followers to rethink society’s beauty standards. “There is absolutely nothing objectively true about statements like ‘cellulite is ugly’ or ‘perfectly smooth and toned is more attractive.’ Those are just examples of a social reality we pass along to each other so often, that our brains start to believe they must be true, they're ‘natural,’ or they're ‘just the way things are.’ But they're not. We can change the way we see things by interrupting those old thoughts, challenging and examining them, noticing how they affect us, changing what we expose ourselves to, and finding new beliefs that affect us in a more positive way,” Kneeland wrote.
Many of the comments on Kneeland’s post were positive, with people telling her how inspiring her words were. However one man felt differently. “Spin it anyway u want, having unhealthy body fat like that is not natural; it’s because u eat or used to eat s----y food and ur body has stored it!” he wrote. “Stop eating s--t food and burn more calories that u put in ur face and it will go!” he wrote.
But Kneeland didn’t let the hurtful comment get her down, and many of her followers jumped to her defense. In response, on Tuesday the trainer posted a mirror selfie in her underwear alongside the man’s comment. “This comment was left by a hater, on the cellulite photo I posted yesterday…I didn't realize I have cellulite because I'm just TOO FAT!!” Kneeland wrote.
“Don't worry though. Me and my ‘unnatural, unhealthy body fat’ are just gonna be over here helping women understand that there is NOTHING wrong with cellulite (or anything else about their bodies!) and that trolls like you are ignorant and uneducated,” she continued.
“Also I'll keep spinning my body as ‘none of your damn business.’” Kneeland wrote.
Kneeland told Yahoo Beauty she wants to help women see their body differently than society tells them they should. She said women are often given two choices: “Love your curves, or buy into the weight-loss B.S. There needs to be another way to have a relationship with our bodies.”
“I became a body-image coach, and I teach women how to overcome the issues that cause body shame,” she said. “It usually boils down to women feeling unsafe in their bodies or not feeling worthy because they can’t maintain a standard of perfection.”