Amy Pence-Brown, a 40-year-old Idaho mother of four and founder of the Boise Rad Fat Collective Facebook, stood stripped down to a bikini in a busy Boise market, blindfolded herself and invited people to write on her body. Her mission statement was scrawled in chalk on the board beside her: “I’m standing for anyone who has struggled with a self-esteem issue like me, because all bodies are valuable. To support self-acceptance, draw on my body.”  This video, distilled from the hour stood, is breathtaking.

Amy Pence-Brown
Amy Pence-Brown

The reaction of the public to Pence-Brown’s statement was defied her fears that “people would yell terrible things at me”

Instead she found herself covered with a litany of unexpected words:

God Bless You
You are beautiful
You Rock
Stand Strong
I Love Me
You look great
You are gorgeous
Big Love


Read Pence-Brown’s blog post about the extraordinary reactions she got. And her own description of the complex story of her body, which is a map of her life:

And, undoubtedly, like me, you will also see other things in these photos – the sweat running down my rolls of back fat, cellulite (on strong legs that have carried me for four decades), a wonky bikini top with sagging breasts (that nourished three babies), stretch marks (that represent my transition from a chubby adolescent to a curvy teenager to a woman who’s been pregnant four times), and darkly tanned skin (from a summer spent at the Boise Public Pools with my friends and my children). 

It is yet another of the very public statements people — like Mira Keras’, below, whose image also recently called out ‘the shaming industrial complex’ —are making to antidote shame and the various mind prisons our critical, norm-crazy society perpetuates.

Greg Keras
Greg Keras


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