Two years ago Amy Pence-Brown started a private group on Facebook called the Boise Rad Fat Collective. They are a self-described “secret society of super-sized feminazis who can’t get laid and sit around complaining about our ugly clothes while eating Big Macs and cake.”
Except, that’s not what they are. That’s whatsome might think they are.
They actually are a group of socially engaged Idahoans of all shapes and sizes who are fed up with mainstream media and society telling them what a valuable body should do/be/act/look like. While it started with a handful of her best strong female friends, it’s expanded now to include people she’s never met.
A video by The Liberators International went viral of a moving social experiment where a young Liberator named Jae West shed her clothing in London’s busy Picadilly Circus, armed with markers, a sign, and a blindfold, and asked people to draw hearts on her body if they share her promotion of self-acceptance after overcoming an eating disorder. She has now been interviewed extensively about the importance of the project and how terrifying and exhilarating standing alone half-nude was for her, and the outpouring of humanity that has followed it.
The Boise group wondered how it would be received if the woman had been less socially acceptable in appearance, like, fat. And, say, a mom who’s nearly 40-years-old? And in a place that was more conservative and less progressive than London like, say, Boise, Idaho? She made a professional photographer to document it.
They decided on one of the most pedestrian-rich locations in Boise —the Capital City Public Market — at the busiest time of day (noon). She wore a black bikini. They set up a camera and she stripped off her dress.
“The hush in the crowd around me was instantaneous and I barely had time to tie on my blindfold, prop up my sign and grab my markers before the first woman rushed up to me, touched my hand with her shaky one, told me I was brave and powerful and asked if she could give me a hug and started to cry,’ wrote Pence-Brown. “And then I cried, too. But I could tell she didn’t just draw a heart on my body. She wrote a word. In fact, by the end of my fifty minutes of continuous public support, there were dozens of words that covered my body, and even more hearts.”
God Bless You
You are beautiful
I Love Me
You look great
You are gorgeous
“A dad who stood in front of me with his two young sons knelt down to tell them, ‘this is what a beautiful woman looks like,’ she wrote.
A 20-something man stood behind her and whispered, “The effects of what you are doing here are far-reaching. It’s absolutely amazing. The power of this moment will go on and in ways you never thought possible. You are changing more lives than you know.”