Update: I received a very polite response this evening from the magazine’s editor. Here’s what she had to say:
Hello Amy and thank you for your email – I am very interested in your story.
I concede I didn’t realise a small group of larger women would take this so literally or seriously. The ‘rock a swimsuit’ is a rather flippant frame of reference, which is a relatable scenario or imagining for most women.
We will all be confronted with images of ‘perfect bodies’ in swimsuits over the next few months. And, with very close experience with near-fatal effects of body-bashing, my mission was to undermine the mentality that you are your body, or that it is any indicator of one’s worth.
Let me be clear on my personal belief, that you are as worthy as I and vice versa. The right to feel good about yourself is a birth right I hate to think could be taken from either of us. Yet, as individuals we also have limited control. Reality will not go away, so we must choose how we respond – noone can make us feel bad without our permission.
I appreciate your experience and views and feel they suggest a debate that needs to be had separately.
To quote you, “Peace”, Amy.
I really appreciate that she took the time to respond to me, and that she spoke so well about her mission. I responded.
I really appreciate your answer today. Thank you.
I am incredibly sorry to hear that you have had such hideous experiences with body-bashing as well. I have lived through a lot of that kind of ugly in my life. None of us deserve it. I truly love that your mission is to undermine that negative mentality. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do in a broader sense.
You say we have limited control – I presume you mean limited control of what occurs outside of us, and with that I heartily agree. I disagree, however, with your assertion that “reality will not go away.” The fact that you work in this arena tells me that you don’t truly believe that. I think we both believe that we have the power to change reality one person at a time by challenging assumptions and societal standards and bringing them up for free and open debate. Even you who are working in this arena – which is tremendous! – were challenged by several of us about the arbitrary requirements of this program. The very fact that you didn’t realize the way this might be taken by larger women is indicative of the fact that the status quo IS changing because we DID challenge it, and I think that’s pretty phenomenal. Keep on that mission, Rebecca – in all its forms.
Again, thank you for taking your time to respond.