Recently, a woman who read BARE contacted me, asking for advice about her daughter.
My heart sank as I read this woman’s words because her story related so closely to a personal story of mine from nearly 20 years ago—further proving that this bullshit is still happening.
Back when I started my company, one of my marketing strategies was to do a local media blitz—getting interviewed on local TV, speaking on local stages, and writing a column for my local newspaper.
During this time, I interacted with lots of different journalists, producers, editors, reporters, anchors, and other decision-makers.
One day, I was preparing to speak at an event that would be televised—double exposure! I chalked this up to a big win.
I chose a blue sleeveless dress for the occasion, something that made me feel great and like my most powerful self.
Right before I took the stage, someone involved with the production stopped me. Their words are still seared into my brain, even to this day.
“Susan, you shouldn’t wear bare arms. Those lights up there are pretty harsh. It will make your arms look bad.”
This was during my pre-BARE days, a time when I was still immersed in diet culture and working on my food & body issues.
That comment stung, and as I waited backstage, that sting turned into a groundswell of pain & disappointment. I was so thrilled for this opportunity to speak on a televised stage, wearing my favorite blue dress, and now it was like the wind had been knocked out of my sails.
As I read this woman’s story about her daughter, all of those same feelings came flooding back, but more heightened this time – because this shit is STILL happening. And it’s deeply affecting women everywhere, including our girls.
Her daughter was about to graduate with a master’s degree in the arts. Part of her commencement was to give a performance on stage.
She spent her hard-earned money on a dress and felt great as she waited backstage, about to give the performance of her life.
That is until her professor sidled up next to her. He said that her arms looked too big, that the stage lights would show all of her imperfections, and asked if she had a shrug she could throw on to “cover-up.”
This stellar young woman was about to celebrate something incredible, and all her professor could think to say was: “cover-up.”
Mom asked if I had any words to ease her daughter’s pain because this one statement really affected her confidence and overshadowed her accomplishment.
Here’s what I told her:
“Your daughter’s arms are too powerful for a f*cking shrug.”
This situation is unfortunately all too common, this projection of diet culture, ruining moments for women everywhere.
It’s exactly why we need BARE coaches. It’s precisely why we need to lift our voices.
We need people to stop projecting dieting, depriving, restricting, punishing, and bullying so that we can focus on what matters—like earning degrees and turning in stellar performances.
Your arms, at any size or shape, can grace a mother f*cking stage.
So get out there and claim that spotlight.
p.s. I’ve got one spot left for BARE Coach Certification starting this month. If you want to stop these stories from happening, obliterate diet culture, and help women focus on the big things they’re here to do, join me in this mission.