Thanks to the universal popularity of selfies and the body-positive community's use of social media, a new hashtag has real women sharing their bikini bodies in a bold and beautiful new way: #Fatkini
Often attributed to the beauty blogger Gabi Gregg, who now has her own line of plus-size swimwear, #Fatkini and other hashtags like #LoseHateNotWeight are becoming micro-communities of women who are sharing their stories and their selfies with the world.
Over at Colorlines, Miriam Pérez talked to several women about how these communities are not only creating a space for openness, but also creating the market for stores to sell bikinis in bigger sizes.
"Social media allows for these women to congregate, interact with each other," said Marie Denee, of the popular fashion blog Curvy Fashionista. "They're like, 'Oh, you like bikinis too? Let's demand our bikinis!'"
One of the most popular retailers among #Fatkini shoppers is Forever21, which only recently began to sell fashionable plus-size two-pieces in its stores.
Many of the women proudly posting their #Fatkini photos admit that it's their first time wearing a bikini in public, which makes them even more special.
"There's not only this sense that I'm transgressing this rule that fat girls don't wear bikinis," said Virgie Tovar, one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. "There's [also] this corporeal experience of the wind and sun on my stomach. That feeling is not only novel and exhilarating but also political."
This hashtag is also something of a departure in the plus-size community, where people often try and refrain from using the word "fat" at all.
The embracing of the term is empowering women who may not fit the mold of the "hourglass" or "curvy" body type to be just as welcome.