Michelle Elman is a body confidence coach that helps others to find confidence in their own skin. After struggling with numerous medical conditions and surgeries during the course of her life, she realized that body positivity is not about a person’s size/weight. Apparently, this is an aspect of body positivity that is still frequently misunderstood.
For example, birthmarks, scars and the other stuff that makes us feel different has to be a part of the conversation, too. Elman started to share her journey with the world on social media and this became the strongest tool to help others and motivate them.
The psychology graduate shared an Instagram post in May this year in which she wore a dress from five years ago just to prove a point.
What you can see down below is a picture from 2012 when Michelle was size 12 wearing a size 14 dress. Years later, she wore the same dress even though she wears size 20.
And guess what? The dress still fit.
NUMBERS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING. I found a dress in my cupboard the other day that I had since I was in sixth form. The dress is a size 14. I bought it 5 years ago when I was a size 12. Now, I’m a size 20. And yet, I still fit it. Which just proves that NUMBERS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING. So are you really going to let a change a dress size dictate your day? Are you really going to let an increase in a number affect your mood? Same dress. Still comfortable. Still beautiful. (In fact, I think I look better and happier now!) A higher dress size doesn’t mean: – you are less beautiful – you are less worthy – you are less lovable – you are a worse human – you are a bad person – you are a different person AND it doesn’t even mean you have a bigger body. You could go up a dress size by simply changing stores… (or countries). You can change dress sizes because of the time of the day or simply due to whether you are on your period or not. If you look at your cupboard and you find it harder and harder to find something to wear because of a change in clothing size, I have a great solution for you… throw out all clothes that don’t fit. Looking at your wardrobe shouldn’t be something that makes you feel insecure and sad so make sure everything in your wardrobe fits! Numbers don’t matter. Not the number on the back of your jeans, on the scale or even the number in your bank account. You are not a number. #OneTakeBeauty #BodyPositivity EDIT: For anyone saying I’m lying about my size. Check my stories
“NUMBERS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING,” she wrote in the caption. “So are you really going to let a change in dress size dictate your day? Are you really going to let an increase in a number affect your mood?”
“A higher dress size doesn’t mean: — you are less beautiful — you are less worthy — you are less lovable — you are a worse human — you are a bad person — you are a different person AND it doesn’t even mean you have a bigger body,” the coach who also runs a campaign called Scarred Not Scared, wrote.
The inspirational picture immediately went viral and messages from inspired people started pouring in. But despite all the positive feedback, there was something still bugging Michelle, as it seemed like some people just didn’t get the message:
“Since the creation of this account, I have always been told I’m beautiful ‘for my size’ and I never wanted to talk about it because I thought I was being pedantic but eventually decided to speak my mind about it,” she said in.
Elman really wanted people to understand what body positivity means, so she took a different approach to the “before and after” shots we so often see on Instagram.
Picking up on a few of the comments from yesterday’s post. “You look good for a size 20” – This is not a compliment. It’s like saying that an older woman looks good “for her age”. Who says size 20 women can’t look good? Who says older women can’t look good? It’s ALSO an insult to all my other size 20 babes. When you say I look good for a size 20, it usually means I look skinnier than a size 20 which still sends the message: thin = good, fat = bad. “You are lying, you aren’t a size 20” – I am a U.K. Size 20. It is a fact that changes depending on which store but the majority of my clothes are size 20. That is a fact. This assumption that I’m lying is contingent on your perception of what a size 20 looks like. This perpetuates the idea that fat equals ugly or unattractive which is most definitely DOES NOT! “You distorted camera angles + edited it to look skinnier” – It was not a preprepared photo that I planned from 5 years ago so yes different angles but it’s the only photo I had in the dress. The photo from 2012 had a filter because another person took that photo. The one from 2017 is not edited/filtered in anyway. These assumptions are based on the fact I have something to hide. NOT HIDING. Right here telling you my dress size. “You aren’t even fat. You should stop invalidating the struggles of actual fat women and taking away from the movement” – I don’t know what you deem as “actual fat” but both my weight + my dress size indicates I am. I use the word fat because it’s not an insult. When you tell me I’m not allowed to use a word that describes me, when I experience the marginalisation of anyone in my size, that invalidates MY experience of being fat-bodied. In terms of taking away from the movement, you’ll be hard pushed to find another mixed-race, not able-bodied, fat scarred woman talking about chronic illness and chronic pain and THAT representation matters. In summary, if people tell you they are a certain size, believe them. They are the ones picking out their clothes! You can be the same dress size + look bigger/smaller as shown in the two photos above! Whatever your size, you look good for your size 😉 #scarrednotscared #onetakebeauty
She wanted to clear things up for some of the user comments pointing out she looked skinnier in the 2017 picture.
“If people tell you they are a certain size, believe them. People think that body positivity is about trying to convince people that bigger bodies are attractive, either physically or sexually,” she wrote.
“If you are still relating your love for your body to society’s perception of beauty,” she says, “then you are still reliant on someone else’s opinion. Body positivity is about saying that you are more than a body and your self-worth is not reliant on your beauty.”
The second post hit over 26,000 likes on Instagram, perhaps meaning that Elman does have a point.