Gina Mei
Updated April 14, 2015

Fashion blogger Jessica Kane was fed up with the idea that anyone who isn’t a size 0 should be considered “brave” for loving her body. So she took to Facebook and posted a gorgeous photograph of herself at the beach along with a ridiculously empowering message — and we’re in love with what she had to say.

Kane, who founded Skorch Magazine and the blog Life and Style of Jessica, is a self-described “body confidence fashion blogging pioneer,” and it’s easy to see why. She absolutely nails it — and others clearly agree. Since she posted the photo this week, it has racked up over 76,000 likes, a number that’s quickly growing.

“What if we let the critics in our head win?” Kane wrote in a follow-up blog post. “Your happiness will suffer in exchange to make someone else more comfortable with THEIR own issues.”

She’s totally right. All too often, the reaction to women who don’t adhere to society’s definition of the “perfect body” is that they are being brave when they choose to show it — but we need to challenge that notion. All women, regardless of their weight (or any other factor), should be allowed to wear whatever they please. Calling a woman “brave” for showing her body implies that her existence is somehow less admirable for not adhering to (or caring about) a very narrow standard of beauty. And it shouldn’t be.

Kane looks absolutely stunning in her photo — but more importantly, she looks confident and happy. Yes, her picture (and its accompanying caption) is ridiculously inspiring, and photos like hers allow other women the much-needed reassurance that all bodies are amazing and worthy of love. But by calling her brave, we diminish that.

It is wonderful when women of all shapes and sizes don’t let society’s opinions dictate their sartorial choices — but it would be even more wonderful if we got to a point where it was normal (. . . or that society didn’t dictate our self confidence at all). Normalizing diverse representation of all kinds remains as important as ever, and the only way we can achieve that is precisely by treating diversity as if it’s normal. All of us are beautiful in our own right, and to frame that beauty within a specific context is to cheapen it. So, let’s take a stand and celebrate all bodies, and leave adjectives like “brave” out of the picture.

From Gabifresh‘s “fatkini” shot (and resulting swimsuit line) to Rachel Hollis’ bikini Instagram, it’s the dawn of a new kind of swimsuit inspiration, and we’re all about it. These women have given us much-needed proof that our bodies are as varied and unique as we are, and that all bodies are incredible — both for how they look and for what they can do.

“Eff the critics babygirl, and eff anyone else’s version of beauty if it forces you to deny embracing moments like these,” Kane continued in her post. “Live your life NOW.”

We couldn’t be more grateful to Kane for the reminder.

(Image via Jessica Kane.)