In a culture that relentlessly pushes unrealistic and harmful body images on women and girls, our thirst for any semblance of realistic beauty can be insatiable, so it's little wonder that Rachel Hollis has become an instant internet sensation. Hollis has set Facebook aflame by posting the above photo with a defiant message of empowerment and self-esteem:
I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that's permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy... (which is something I didn't even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I'm proud of this body and every mark on it. Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight I could. I wear a bikini because the only man who's opinion matters knows what I went through to look this way. That same man says he's never seen anything sexier than my body, marks and all. They aren't scars ladies, they're stripes and you've earned them. Flaunt that body with pride! #HollisHoliday
The post has gone viral, earning Hollis over 400,000 Facebook "likes" and a writeup in Us Weekly, so you'll be able to check Rachel out again at your next dental checkup. She's getting lots of plaudits for her courage, and why shouldn't she? Who the hell wants to look at this?
The answer to that question is plainly "anyone who would want to look at bikini pictures ever," but hers actually is an act of courage in our current culture because she is genuinely risking verbal savagery at the hands of anonymous dicks who would have no problem picking her apart from the comfort of their virgin bachelor pads. The fact that posting a hot bikini picture constitutes an act of defiance is indicative of the sickness of our culture when it comes to women's bodies.
As such, I'm only going to gently point out that Hollis' empowering message, while greatly comforting to women with stretch marks who are otherwise super-hot, leaves out women who aren't at an "ideal" weight, and actually reinforces that particular standard. Pobody's nerfect, and her heart was clearly in the right place.
I'm much less impressed with the self-congratulatory viral crowd that's made Rachel Hollis famous for posting a picture of herself in a bikini, as if their approving gaze is somehow a validation of feminine worth. How many of those half-million people (or more; those are just the "likes") are aware that Rachel Hollis is an author, and makes a mean Cookies 'n Cream Martini? Nobody who read that Us Weekly article, that'for sure.
It doesn't take anything but a pair of eyeballs to enjoy a hot bikini picture. You want to impress me? "Like" a bikini photo of this guy.