Boise woman takes a stand for self-acceptance at public market

A Boise woman's video of her standing in a public market in just a bikini has gone viral.

BOISE -- A Boise woman's video is going viral.

It shows Amy Pence-Brown at the Capital City Public Market in what she calls "A Stand for Self Love."

She stood in the crowd, stripped to a bathing suit, blindfold herself, and placed a chalkboard at her feet, asking people to draw a heart on her if they support self-acceptance.

Pence-Brown got the idea from an Australian group that did a similar video in London last month.

"The women from Australia was thin, white young. What if you were fat, maybe about 40 and a mom, and maybe you were somewhere different like Boise, Idaho?" said Pence-Brown.

She's an artist and writer who has done other projects to highlight her message of "All bodies are good bodies." 

On Saturday, Aug. 29, Pence-Brown stood in one of the busiest sections of the Capital City Farmer's Market in Boise. She took off her dress, revealing a black bikini. She put on a blindfold, held out markers, and waited as people read her sign, "I'm standing for anyone who has struggled with a self-esteem issue like me, because all bodies are valuable. To support self-acceptance, draw a (heart) on my body."

"I was really worried no one would draw a heart," said Pence-Brown.

It was within just a few seconds the first person walked up.

A friend, Melanie Folwell, secretly recorded the scene.

Internally, Pence-Brown prepared herself to hear negative comments.

"Not only did I have a lot of skin to show, but it is thick skin so that didn't really make me too nervous," she said.

The first woman wrote on Pence-Brown and cried as she spoke with her. Pence-Brown started to cry too, thankful her blindfold caught her tears.

Some people walked in a wide circle around the scene, but Pence-Brown says they still were participating in the project.

"They stopped, turned around and stood and watched me and read my sign and watched other people," she said. "So they were maybe unwilling participants in the project but the message hit them."

The message hit dozens of people who signed more than hearts, they also wrote words of encouragement. One person left her a lemonade, another left a flower. Some people gave hugs, and many people spoke with her.

"I didn't say a lot. I did say 'Thank you,' but sometimes I said 'You're welcome' because I got a lot of 'Thank you's' back," said Pence-Brown.

She said she did this to spread self-love. 

It is something she teaches her three children: a toddler, a second grader, and a sixth grade girl.

"All bodies are good bodies is something we say in our house," said Pence-Brown. She said her children were not at the performance, but she spoke to them, especially her oldest, about what she was doing and why.

Pence-Brown said there is power in using the word "fat." She said she has reclaimed it, and that's just a description of her, not who she is.

"I'm a nearly 40-year-old, fat, feminist mother whose a writer and funny and kind, who cares a lot about her children and her community," said Pence-Brown.


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