But one woman is going viral for her argument that it’s not necessarily a compliment, either.

Body-positive activist Clare recently posted a photo to explain why you should think twice before telling someone with an “uncoventional” body that they are “brave.”

Here’s the photo from August 10:

The concept of bravery – especially as it applies to the existence and exposure of marginalized bodies – is a complicated idea to unpack. In a world that punishes difference – where being the wrong shape, the wrong race, the wrong sexuality, the wrong gender, or the wrong type of physically able is terms for oppression – IT IS BRAVE to simply stand the fuck up and take up space. For people pigeonholed as “problematic,” the simple act of existence IS a risk – anyone who’s ever endured the denial of basic civic rights (ie. physical, verbal, psychological, systemic, or institutionalized violence) as penalty for who they are could probably attest that the experience of their existence is FAR from simple. So when a marginalized body makes a public proclamation of their PERSONHOOD, OF COURSE IT IS BRAVE. And as much I resent that the fact that this is a reality – that people in “unconventional” bodies need courage just to show up and be seen – we do not yet live in a safe enough, equitable enough, or tolerant enough society that renders this bravery unnecessary. Right now, bravery IS necessary. Right now, bravery is what keeps many people in this world breathing and surviving and holding on. This bravery NEEDS to be celebrated. What kind of social justice would be possible if this bravery went ignored? Demanding change requires bravery. Implementing change even more so. My difficulty with this topic surrounds the extent to which the “lauding of bravery” takes an underhanded turn – the moments when “you’re so brave!” (much like “you’re so confident/inspiring!”) is code for “you’re so brave because you’re living in a body that I would never want to have, taking up space that’s not for you to claim.” How do we spot the difference? Context and tone. If someone bemoans how “fat they feel” and then turns around to a heavier person and “compliments” their confidence? � Bitch, bye. But compliments that actually SUPPORT a person’s existence? Compliments that say “I STAND WITH YOU BECAUSE THE WORLD DESERVES YOU AND I HOPE ONE DAY RESPECT AND VISIBILITY WON’T BE SOMETHING WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR”? That’s a laud for bravery the world should assemble in standing ovation for.

 

In the picture, Clare poses with her shirt raised and argues that courage helps some people survive. Clare herself is recovering from an eating disorder, according to her Instagram bio, and helps spread awareness through her posts.

“In a world that punishes difference – where being the wrong shape, the wrong race, the wrong sexuality, the wrong gender, or the wrong type of physically able is terms for oppression – IT IS BRAVE to simply stand the f-ck up and take up space,” she wrote in the caption.

According to Clare, being brave is a requirement because society doesn’t accept everyone as they are.

“We do not yet live in a safe enough, equitable enough, or tolerant enough society that renders this bravery unnecessary. Right now, bravery IS necessary,” she said.

She continued by explaining how bravery is often spoken about in a very problematic way.

“‘You’re so brave!’ (much like ‘you’re so confident/inspiring!’) is code for ‘you’re so brave because you’re living in a body that I would never want to have, taking up space that’s not for you to claim,'” she wrote.

Clare’s solution to determining a person’s genuine intentions boils down to tone and context:

“If someone bemoans how ‘fat they feel’ and then turns around to a heavier person and ‘compliments’ their confidence? 🙄 B-tch, bye. But compliments that actually SUPPORT a person’s existence? Compliments that say ‘I STAND WITH YOU BECAUSE THE WORLD DESERVES YOU AND I HOPE ONE DAY RESPECT AND VISIBILITY WON’T BE SOMETHING WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR’? That’s a laud for bravery the world should assemble in standing ovation for.”

In response to her post, several Instagram users have commented with their support.

“Thanks for sharing and letting us know that we’re not alone in the battle. I wish the world was way more on board,” one user said. Another person wrote: “You always articulate these complex issues so well!”

Others told Clare that she helped them see themselves in a different light.

“You made me feel so much better,”one Instagram user commented. Someone else said: “I will no longer punish myself to be so thin! How ridiculous.”

It’s not the first time that Clare has made a statement about how women’s bodies are seen and talked about. A few days before her post about bravery, she shared a photo to show how “performed” gym selfies can be.

Here’s the full caption of Clare’s Instagram photo:

The concept of bravery – especially as it applies to the existence and exposure of marginalized bodies – is a complicated idea to unpack. In a world that punishes difference – where being the wrong shape, the wrong race, the wrong sexuality, the wrong gender, or the wrong type of physically able is terms for oppression – IT IS BRAVE to simply stand the fuck up and take up space. For people pigeonholed as “problematic,” the simple act of existence IS a risk – anyone who’s ever endured the denial of basic civic rights (ie. physical, verbal, psychological, systemic, or institutionalized violence) as penalty for who they are could probably attest that the experience of their existence is FAR from simple. So when a marginalized body makes a public proclamation of their PERSONHOOD, OF COURSE IT IS BRAVE. And as much I resent that the fact that this is a reality – that people in “unconventional” bodies need courage just to show up and be seen – we do not yet live in a safe enough, equitable enough, or tolerant enough society that renders this bravery unnecessary. Right now, bravery IS necessary. Right now, bravery is what keeps many people in this world breathing and surviving and holding on. This bravery NEEDS to be celebrated. What kind of social justice would be possible if this bravery went ignored? Demanding change requires bravery. Implementing change even more so. My difficulty with this topic surrounds the extent to which the “lauding of bravery” takes an underhanded turn – the moments when “you’re so brave!” (much like “you’re so confident/inspiring!”) is code for “you’re so brave because you’re living in a body that I would never want to have, taking up space that’s not for you to claim.” How do we spot the difference? Context and tone. If someone bemoans how “fat they feel” and then turns around to a heavier person and “compliments” their confidence? 🙄 B-tch, bye. But compliments that actually SUPPORT a person’s existence? Compliments that say “I STAND WITH YOU BECAUSE THE WORLD DESERVES YOU AND I HOPE ONE DAY RESPECT AND VISIBILITY WON’T BE SOMETHING WE HAVE TO FIGHT FOR”? That’s a laud for bravery the world should assemble in standing ovation for.

INSIDER has contacted Clare for comment.

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