We all know the internet to be a remarkably cruel place from time to time, with people emboldened to say and do things they would never in real life.
Today, however, users on Reddit turned the tables by showing a much warmer and more supportive side to the internet, after hundreds of users rushed to the defence of a woman 'cruelly' body-shamed by a friend over her choice of swimwear.
"So I was looking for bathing suits online, with my friend," she explained. "We're getting into beach season where we are, and Covid restrictions have been lifted in our area."
"I have 2 young kids, and as you can imagine, stretch marks on my stomach, thighs, and breasts," she continued. "I mean, nothing too crazy or severe, but I think, looking at me you can tell I've been pregnant. I have a mixture of one-piece bathing suits and two-piece sets. That day, I happened to be looking at two-pieces."
The went on to detail the conversation precisely, writing that her friend was left baffled when she explained she was after a two-piece.
"But you have stretch marks all over, and you have the mom pouch," the friend reportedly said. "You should probably look for a one-piece to cover yourself up."
The woman replied: "Okay well, imma go out on a limb and say most people have some form of stretch marks somewhere on their body, be it from pregnancy, sudden weight gain or loss."
"But you won't look sexy at the beach when we go," the friend hit back.
"I guess I'm not looking to be sexy?" the woman responded. "I'm married, I'm not there to pick up guys, I just want to tan my back and tummy at the beach."
"Just because 'lots of people have stretch marks' doesn't make them pretty to look at, though," the friend replied.
"Isn't that what you said? That even if something is common or popular, it doesn't mean it's good."
In response the woman informed the friend she wouldn't be going to the beach with her, a reaction the friend called 'extreme'.
The insane exchange prompted a flurry of responses from gobsmacked onlookers, who slammed the comments from the friend.
"Your friend is an idiot," one person wrote. "People will not be standing around staring at you. People have stretch marks, it happens. Those are not a visual affront to others."
"And your friend wasn't being honest about anything save for how shallow she is."
"I'd rather have strangers who stare than a friend who comments," another agreed. "Dump the friend, get the suit, and rock that bod on the beach because you can!"
"Gotta love the "good intentions " body shame," another commented. "She sounds like one heck of a friend."
"Your friend is just cruel," another wrote. "Your body is perfect as it is, stretch marks and any other post-pregnancy features are just as natural as a belly button or a nose."
It's not the first time people have felt compelled to share an unsolicited commentary about a woman's body.
Vegan fitness influencer and Adelaide woman Natasha Maree shared a video on TikTok of the awkward moment, captioning the clip: “Karen doesn't want me in a bikini”.
Natasha can be seen showering after a visit to the beach before the unidentified woman approaches the showers and appears to wash her feet, and drops a comment about kids and families at the beach, implying she shouldn't be in a bikini about them.
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