Gabi Gregg approached the Website, JaneXO, to post positive, happy pictures of larger women in bikini She writes, "I know first-hand how inspiring it can be to see people with bodies that look similar to my own feeling confident and happy on the beach in something other than a Hawaiian-print skirted one piece."

She posted, and others soon followed.

Jezebel picked up on the post and posted one of the pictures. The reaction from their readers was interesting ...

Gabi continues: "As a size 18, my swimwear posts tend to gain way more traffic (on my bog) than my regular outfit posts. I attribute this to the fact that our culture is so obsessed with having a "beach ready bod," that the mere idea of someone my size in a swimsuit, let alone a bikini, is shocking to most."

" A lot of the comments were along the lines of "Of course she has confidence! She's a toned, hourglass-shaped plus size woman! I could never wear a bikini! I'm so flabby!"


What is it with us women? Is body judgement and competition so embedded in our psyches, that we cannot help ourselves but strike blows no matter what body shape we are confronted with?

That even when a gallery is crafted in order to make women feel better about themselves, blame, comparison and competition creep in?

I think this bravery is worthy of applause and celebration. It takes a lot for 99% of us to be photographed in a swimsuit. Let alone a bikini, let alone if we are "carrying a few extra kilos" (or more than a few.)

Turning on ourselves is harmful. Why must there be competition, criticism, defensiveness and excuses from within the tribe when faced with these images? Why can't we just applaud? If a larger woman is toned and hour-glass shaped? Great. That's lovely. And natural.

And, in my opinion, for what it's worth, every human being can work towards being a bit more toned, a bit less flabby. THAT is what exercise accomplishes. Current thinking may be that getting off one's butt does not a huge amount for weight-loss, but I can tell you it does a huge amount for toning, flab fighting and self-esteem.

And you can get that result no matter what shape you are.

I think images like these are important. Shame and judgement make people hide away and they hide, the less society gets used to seeing bodies like these in a positive light.

It takes courage and is also normalising "fat" is a dangerous balancing act. after all, not to hurt anyone's feelings, but obesity is as serious a killer in this country as AIDs is.

But most of these women are not at all unhealthy. They are just shaped differently to the very narrow band of acceptable body shapes generally celebrated in media. (Yes, yes, I know I'm a part of that media, but COSMO and our other mags are rigorous in representing diversity, so give me a hard time if you like, but be warned, I have ammunition to defend myself.)

So, let's salute the bravery, celebrate the diversity ...

Stop blaming and making excuses ... (Isn't this chick BEAUTIFUL? Aren't they ALL?)

... and get off the sofa and go for a walk?


Then look at the clouds and think happy thoughts.

Read more at JaneXO/Gabifresh, or Gabifresh.





  1. Edee May 28, 2012 at 10:53 #

    Inspiring. Love the concept, great post HV.

  2. Lana May 28, 2012 at 12:19 #

    Absolutely loved this post!!! I’ll be creating a bookmark for it as a reminder of what I want to be like!

    I’m size 16/18 and I haven’t even owned a swimsuit of any sort for the last 5 years! This post made me wonder why the hell not!!

    What caught my attention most is how happy these ladies look! High 5 to every one of you ladies!!

  3. Loudine May 29, 2012 at 07:10 #

    Wonderful post, HV. I spent a wonderful weekend going to the World Marine Expo here in South Korea, and going to the beach, staying on an island and generally having a fun-time trip with a group of foreign teachers here. What bugged me is that the bigger girls in the group (including one smaller than me) looked dressed to go shopping or to church, on the beach. Sundress over a t-shirt and leggings, in 30 degree heat. Why? Are bigger people not allowed to swim, catch a few rays, feel comfortable in their own skin? I am all for healthier, more toned, getting more exercise. But people’s bodies are different. Some people are just naturally bigger, or have slower metabolisms. Of course, many people who are overweight don’t take good care of their bodies, eat or drink too much junk, don’t get any exercise and so on. But that still doesn’t mean that they should have to hide their bodies and have low-selfesteem because they are bigger! Here few families have big enough apartments to have a bath of their own, so there are ‘spa’s’ that everyone goes to – like a communal bath house, with showers, different kinds of hot pools, saunas, massage rooms and the like. It took me about 7 months to gather the courage to go to one and get naked with a bunch of other women. Do you know what I realised? There are VERY few bodies out there that are perfectly slim and toned and look like chicks in fashion spreads. Boobs and butts and hips and arms and legs all come in different shapes and sizes, and nobody’s looks the same. And that is part of what makes us individuals. We shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable because we look different, any more than we would because we hold different opinions.
    So by all means, strive to be in the best shape you can be, but do it for the right reasons: your health, not what you look like to other people.
    I, for one, am inspired by this post. I have already started to make myself walk around in a swimsuit on the beach, instead of covering up in boardshorts, etc. This summer I will make an effort to be proud of my strong, healthy body – and I will do this now, while I am still working on making it healthier, more toned, less flabby.

  4. Dee May 29, 2012 at 16:34 #

    You go girls!

  5. CuriousRobyn May 30, 2012 at 15:10 #

    I’m sorry but pretty much all of these chicks are HOT. Just saying. :D

  6. Jennifer Jarosz May 30, 2012 at 18:29 #

    I love the confidence of these women! I am only a little bit over weight and miss out on having fun because I am concerned about how other people will view me. All these women are gorgous and really help me to realize that I am beautifull too.

  7. Carie May 31, 2012 at 07:28 #

    Absolutely LOVE the idea. So tired of all the “cute” bathing suits and bakini’s made only for the skinny girl. I wish society and the designers would get it in their heads that everyone has a different (and beautiful) body! I wouldn’t want to look like all the other skinny girls, just wish there was more cute stuff made for fuller figured girls. Love this idea…hope it catches on and the word gets out and would love to see these products in stores!!!!

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