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The internet is a vicious beast. Hidden behind the security and anonymity of our computer screens, many of us have become harsher, more daring, and flat-out cruder than we would ever have the audacity to be in person.

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While I certainly hope that most of us are not nearly as insulting and crude as the individuals in this story, I’m sure we all do it to some degree. Even if we never dared to hit ‘enter,’ how many times have you thought about calling someone or something out online? Or how often have you further perpetuated this online reality by simply ‘liking’ or ‘upvoting’ a comment that did it for you?

My intention behind this article is certainly not to condemn online interaction, but to instead hopefully inspire some reflection on whether or not your online self matches the one we would meet in person.

Sara Petty is a 20 year old woman that, like so many of us, seems to be heavily engaged in the world of social media. Through Facebook, Twitter, and her blog, Sara has amassed quite the following, particularly on Twitter, where she has over 20,000 followers.

Currently a student at Bowling Green State University in Sunbury, Ohio, Sara grew tired of seeing women being told what (and what not) to wear on social media based on their weight. Rather than sit back and accept these injustices, Sara awesomely decided to be proactive and do something about it.

Though Sarah was never the recipient of any of the hateful comments herself, she decided to put together a series of 4 photos empowering women to disregard this unnecessary judgement and to wear whatever they want, regardless of their size. Here are the 4 photos:

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Image from Sara’s Twitter: @_spetty


Image from Sara’s Twitter: @_spetty

Image from Sara's Twitter: @_spetty

Image from Sara’s Twitter: @_spetty

Image from Sara's Twitter: @_spetty

Image from Sara’s Twitter: @_spetty

The post has very deservedly gone viral as thousands have gotten behind Sara in reminding women to be themselves and to not let inconsequential online opinions bring them down. And this certainly seems to align with her intentions, which she revealed to Huffington Post:

I had seen a tweet from someone saying that 200-pound girls shouldn’t wear bikinis. I just did some quick searches and found a bunch of similar tweets, so I decided I could do my part to chip away at body-shaming however I could. . . .

I also hope that girls are able to separate who they are from the number that shows up on the scale, and realize there is no number, high or low, that dictates if you’re worthy of feeling beautiful. Body-shaming will probably always be there in some way, but I hope my post helps at least some women feel beautiful in spite of it.

I personally love to see social media used in this way, and hope that Sara’s post inspires more women to spread the message of acceptance and self love rather than judgement and hate.


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