“It feels surreal,” Linda-Marie Nilsson told The Local.
“I’ve got thousands of emails and comments. I even got one email from someone in Canada and Australia thanking me for being brave and posting it.”
Nillson uploaded the photo on Wednesday evening with the comment that if all those people with flat stomachs could post images of themselves at the beach, then so could she.
Just hours after going public with the pic, it had received several thousand likes, and within twenty-four hours this number had swelled to 60,000.
“After I made it public things started happening,” laughed Nilsson.
She added that she posted the image as a way to make plumper people snap photos of themselves at the beach too.
“It is mostly skinny girls that post photos of themselves in bikinis. Those who are a bit plumper like me usually just take photos of other things,” she said.
So far the reactions have been 90 percent positive, Nilsson explained, but there have also been some negative emails and comments accusing her of promoting an unhealthy way of living.
“They said I’m promoting an unhealthy ideal, which I don’t do because I am healthy and not at all fat,” she said.
“But I don’t care what they say. Instead I’ve cried when reading the emails of guys and girls who’ve been suffering because they feel ashamed of their bodies.”
Swedish journalist Julia Skott, who ran a widely popular blog called “Kroppsbild” (literally: body image), where people could post images of their bodies, agrees that our body ideals need to change, but was quick to point out that the manner in which we talk about images like Nilsson’s is just as important.
“It’s just as problematic to discuss this image as ‘a real woman’s body’. That’s just shifting the judgment. All women’s bodies are real bodies,” Skott told The Local.
Skott, just like Nilsson, received negative comments saying her site was promoting an unhealthy ideal, but mainly she received encouraging reactions.
“I got mostly positive reactions. But people also forgot that I didn’t start the blog to show one particular body type. The idea was to show that our bodies are different.”
Although the blog is still up for people to view, Skott has stopped running it.
“It took up too much time. Even people who were positive of the blog started criticizing me for not posting more frequently.”
Asked if Skott thinks people need to see more images like Nilsson’s she replies that “it would seem to be the case”.
Nilsson on the other hand believes she wouldn’t be able to do the same thing again.
“I’ll never get this much reaction if I do the same thing again, but I’m sure I can continue to make a change by writing about it in my blog,” Nilsson told The Local.