Health & Wellness

Brave mom strips down to a bikini in crowded market to promote self-acceptance

When Amy Pence-Brown got the idea for a social experiment, she was worried people were going to yell nasty things at her or, even worse, receive no attention at all.

The artist and mother of three admits that she was nervous at first, but the feminist inside of her knew it was the right thing to do, so on August 29, she stripped down to just a bikini, put on a blindfold and held out markers for people passing by.

She also brought along a sign that read, "I'm standing for anyone who has struggled with a self-esteem issue like me, because all bodies are valuable. To support self-acceptance, draw a heart on my body."

Courtesy of Melanie Flitton Folwell

It wasn't long before a crowd gathered around her, with people ranging from all different ages, ethnicities and body types intrigued by the experiment.

"Almost immediately a sense that something extraordinary was happening washed over me," Pence-Brown told TODAY.com.

Pence-Brown was blown away by the response she received.

Not only was her body quickly filling up with hearts, but some people also wrote to her saying what an inspiration she was. She also had strangers coming up to her telling her how refreshing it was to see someone at peace with their body.

Courtesy of Melanie Flitton Folwell

Pence-Brown got the idea from an Australian group called the Liberators International, who staged a similar experiment in downtown London. She wondered if it would be perceived differently if the person standing there wasn't as conventionally beautiful as the woman in the video, who is half the size and age of her. She also thought about the difference it would make in a less progressive town like Boise.

It was a success! There were hugs exchanged, lots of tears shed and friendships being formed. One person even brought her flowers, while another got her some refreshing lemonade.

Since then, she's heard from dozens of people who were inspired by just simply walking by and others who had heard about her powerful experiment and wanted to applaud her bravery.

"I feel like I've started a body love revolution," Pence-Brown said.

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