Lexie Manion is a young woman who is a body positivity advocate, aspiring art therapist and Instagrammer. She writes a blog about her personal journey to hopefully inspire others who are going through their own struggles. Not long ago she posted a side-by-side photo on Instagram. In one of the photos she is wearing a sheer top captioning the picture “confident”. And, in the other picture she is wearing a sweater captioning it “still confident”. This post got a lot of negative comments. At first she contemplated blocking her bullies. But then, she found that writing an essay about her experience dealing with these online bullies is more cathartic for her. She decided to fight back by sending her bullies positive compliments.
Lexie told INSIDER that she wants other victims of bullying to know they “are not alone” and that these actions should be taken seriously.
“As a woman, I feel so much pressure to look put together and well-dressed every single day,” Lexie wrote in the caption. “As a plus size woman, I feel that pressure even more so than when I was a straight size.”
She continues writing about the problems that people who are plus-sized have to face on daily bases.
“As a plus size woman, if I’m wearing comfy clothes, I’m seen as ‘not trying hard enough’ too, but even more so because I’m fat. So it’s another strike of judgment when I’m not putting all my effort into that day’s look. And especially now that I have embraced my body as a fat person, people also expect me to ALWAYS be wearing risqué clothing.”
Even after the post, people didn’t seem to get the message she was trying to convey. They kept commenting how she should take care of herself and of her body, better.
“Yes you are a beautiful human being, and I can’t deny that. But there is a point in your life where health needs to come before confidence,” one person wrote.
“You should just get over yourself and start to show your confidence with actions, not your Instagram posts,” another person commented.
“You’re really pretty and strong honey but being a bit healthier is better,” someone else commented.
She wrote back to their comments quickly, telling people they should not be so quick to judge. Especially if they don’t know her whole life story. Lexie explained to them that she was struggling with eating disorder and depression, causing her to gain weight. The easier way would have been to block them, but she took the time to send them compliments. This experience led Lexie to write an essay about dealing with online-bullies for Cosmopolitan.
Manion told INSIDER in an e-mail that she wrote the essay , because bullying happens more than we think.
“I wanted others who face similar things, to know they are not alone,” she said. “I also wanted to share my process of my reaction to the bullies — from ignoring them, to talking back, to blocking them, and then finally to sending love and kindness back — because I’m human and I don’t think anyone always has an initial ‘perfect’ response to something upsetting.”
She posted her side-by-side photo, because she wants people to understand that “fat-phobia” is real and happening.
Lexie wrote : “One could be doing everything in their power to get healthier in all aspects (like I am) and be residing in a fat body at the same time. One could also be doing nothing to improve their health in a fat body. Neither of those people deserve to be met with hate or so much anger […] because each person’s body is their own.”
She also commented on how only media covered stories will get people’s attention.
“Oftentimes, I’ll see influential [body positivity] accounts reposting stories that need to be seen, but usually just because the story is being covered well in the media at that moment in time,”
“While that’s great and all, there are plenty of marginalized voices (including fat, POC, disabled, etc. bodies) that do not get the same recognition because they are deemed ‘not popular enough. I want to see people get the recognition they deserve because their story is compelling — not because they have a large social media following.”
She is also quite popular on Instagram with more than 30,000 followers but she believes that people with little to no followers who have had similar experiences deserve the spotlight just as much as she does.
Manion should serve as an example of how to react to bullies and respond to them with kindness.
You can read the full caption of her original post below:
As a woman, I feel so much pressure to look put together and well-dressed every single day. As a plus size woman, I feel that pressure even more so than when I was a straight size. I think part of that is because there are plus size women out there who have hid their bodies under baggy clothes for long periods of time – whether it be because we were ashamed to show our bodies or because we didn’t have access to clothes we like that fit.
Another part of this reasoning is because people judge. I already have a strike against me for going out in public as a fat person; I’m looked down upon and shamed. And I get another strike if I’m not dressed well. This world cares so much about image, so sometimes we have to conform to the pressures.Because as a woman, if I’m not wearing makeup, I’m told I look ‘sick’ and ‘tired’, and maybe even ‘ugly’. As a woman, if I’m wearing a simple and comfy outfit, I’m not ‘trying hard enough’. As a plus size woman, if I’m wearing comfy clothes, I’m seen as ‘not trying hard enough’ too, but even more so because I’m fat. In many people’s eyes, fat equals lazy/unhealthy/gross.
So it’s another strike of judgment when I’m not putting all my effort into that day’s look. And especially now that I have embraced my body as a fat person, people also expect me to ALWAYS be wearing risqué clothing. I’m here to tell you to eff the rules. If you want to wear something baggy ,you are no less confident or worthy. You don’t HAVE to always look like a 10.
What matters is that you feel like a 10, or that you are working towards that number. We may have days we don’t want to wear makeup, or form fitting clothing, or more risqué outfits. That doesn’t mean that we hate ourselves or that we were faking being confident all along. It just means whatever because it simply doesn’t matter. You don’t have to wear sheer clothing, less clothing or tight clothing to prove you are confident or body positive. Confidence isn’t just how we look; it can also be seen in how we speak, and in how we treat ourselves and others.