When will internet trolls learn that they don't get to tell women what their bodies should look like and how they should feel about it?
Apparently, not quite yet — as trainer Jessi Kneeland of Syracuse, New York, learned last week.
Kneeland, 30, whose fitness Instagram has taken a body-positive turn in the last few years, posted a photo on Monday showing off her cellulite — or, as she likes to call it, her "fancy fat."
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Kneeland wrote in the caption, "It's these pretty dimples along the back of my legs and butt ... just a natural, healthy, built-in decoration. (Or at least that's how I choose to see it.)"
She continued, "There is absolutely nothing objectively true about statements like 'cellulite is ugly' or 'perfectly smooth and toned is more attractive.' ... We can change the way we see things by interrupting those old thoughts, challenging and examining them, noticing how they affect us, changing what we expose ourselves to, and finding new beliefs that affect us in a more positive way."
Sounds like an awesome idea, right? Well, one person didn't think so, calling her body "unhealthy" and making rude assumptions about her diet. (Warning: The comment, included in the post below, contains salty language.)
Kneeland wasn't having it. She decided to challenge the man's ignorance to the many reasons why women get cellulite, and show what it means to have true body confidence.
"Sorry dude, I didn't realize I have cellulite because I'm just TOO FAT!" she wrote beneath a picture of her athletic figure. "Don't worry though. Me and my 'unnatural, unhealthy body fat' are just gonna be over here helping women understand that there is NOTHING wrong with cellulite (or anything else about their bodies!)."
"... Also I'll keep spinning my body as 'none of your damn business,'" she added. "Because, yeah. That."
To be clear, Kneeland is clearly quite fit — but to focus overly on her appearance would be to miss the point. "You don't have to earn body confidence by having a certain kind of body," Kneeland told TODAY Style. "Anyone who feels like they love themselves except fill-in-the-blank, that's not how it works. ... True body confidence says, 'I do have cellulite, and there's no shame in that.'"
It took Kneeland a while to reach such a comfortable place with both how she feels about her body and how she presents it online. "I've totally posted pictures of me with my abs flexed, in good lighting ... as a trainer, it seemed like what you were supposed to do to get credibility," she explained.
"But people also say, 'It makes me feel depressed,'" she continued. "I realized it's not fair just to post the stuff where you can make yourself look perfect. It seemed really important to me to share more of those vulnerable photos, with my belly relaxed, showing weight gain fluctuations ... saying, 'This is where I'm at right now, and it's fine.'"