TORONTO — Rachel Taylor isn’t going to be shamed for her size. Even if she was first brought to tears by a “thoughtless” exchange she overheard between a mother and her daughter at Old Navy recently.
“The girl picked up a plus-size tank top, showed it to her mom and said, ‘Look! Me and So-and-so can fit in this tank top!’ Her mom laughed and said, ‘Yeah, you could! That thing is huge!
“I couldn’t help it; I started crying,” she wrote in a now-viral post on Old Navy’s Facebook page.
In an email to Global News, Taylor said she didn’t view the comment to be “body shaming” so much as thoughtless. “They clearly didn’t care that I could hear them.”
Her husband took her to the couple’s car, where she said she cried for a long time before going back inside and trying on the XXL top.
“I ended up buying that tank top,” Taylor’s post read, “because, it turns out, I look fierce in it!”
The 25-year-old photographer decided to post the picture on her personal Facebook page, thinking many of her friends could relate. Taylor also ended up sharing it on Old Navy’s page “as an afterthought…to thank them for their plus-size clothing selection.”
The selfie, which Taylor didn’t think would be noticed by more than a dozen people, now has hundreds of thousands of likes and tens of thousands of comments.
“Most of the reactions have been positive, but unfortunately the negative ones stand out the most,” Taylor admitted.
She’s been called ‘crybaby,’ ‘fatty,’ ‘whale,’ and ‘specimen,’ among other names.
“There was a discussion about how many shots from a gun it would take to ‘take down these fierce fatties.’ I don’t understand how this is acceptable behavior in a civilized society.”
Many others, though, have told Taylor they were encouraged by her story.
“Self-image is something that thousands, if not millions, of people struggle with on a daily basis. Body diversity isn’t about promoting unhealthy lifestyles; it’s about loving yourself and others,” she said.
“No matter what their shape or size or how they got there, every man and woman should feel confident in their own skin.”
Taylor also quoted a passage from the Bible, which urges people to clothe themselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
“I think that is a virtue,” she said, “that we can all live by.”