Bethanie Garcia, an influencer and mom of five, opened up about the hateful comments she received after daring to share her stomach on social media
Even though social media can often provide a network of support and comfort for parents, there’s an equally awful underbelly of needlessly cruel and heartless shaming existing in tandem with all the good stuff. Bethanie Garcia, an influencer and mom of five, recently shared snippets of the “f*cking cruel” comments she received by daring to show her postpartum stomach online, revealing that sometimes, it’s not about learning how to truly love and accept your body, but instead it’s about unlearning the ways you’ve been taught to hate it.
Garcia shared a joyful selfie posing with one of her kids — both of their big, beautiful smiles on full display, along with their tummies — with screenshots of some of the comments she received telling her there’s “nothing sexy about cellulite and rolls,” “there is absolutely nothing sexy to see here,” and “girl you need a tummy tuck asap.” She shared the photo again, including an overlay that reads, “It wasn’t about learning to love my body. It was unlearning all the ways society had taught me to hate it.”
In her caption, Garcia opened up about what it felt like to “stumble across 800+ comments of strangers tearing apart your looks, your morals, your ability to parent…all from a picture of your BELLY.” Noting that she doesn’t share photos of herself to “to try and shove body positivity down people’s throats,” but instead as a way to help heal from years of hating her body and trying everything she could to shrink it to look a certain way.
“I share with the hope that more human beings start unlearning all the things we’ve been taught by society (skinny=healthy, weight loss must be achieved at all costs, your body isn’t worthy unless you’re a certain size, etc),” she wrote.
“I know that these comments say more about the person who wrote them than they do about me,” she added. “But damn. People are so f*cking cruel. I still wake up every day and intentionally choose to be kind to my body. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m doing my best to be kind + love my body because hating it was so much more exhausting and mentally draining tbh.”
Garcia tells Scary Mommy that sometimes, she just has to walk away. “I try to remember that their comments and thoughts and opinions say more about them, than they do about me,” she shares. “And honestly, I have to put my phone away sometimes.”
It also helps to have support at home. “My husband Anthony is my biggest supporter and being able to talk through my feelings with him helps me re-center and calm down a little bit,” Garcia tells us. “It never gets easier. I share what I share so that anyone who feels similarly or is going through things too, feels seen and doesn’t feel completely alone- like I used to when my body went through so many changes. I’m confident in my body and I’m sensitive at the same time. These feelings can co-exist.”
“One gift I hope I can give to my kids is that they will have always seen body types of all shapes and sizes represented. Growing up, I mostly saw thin women represented in the movies, magazines, billboards etc as the ‘sexy’ character or the character who finds love or the one who becomes successful or the one who loves working out,” she says. “I honestly only saw fat bodies represented as villains or in ads for stories that were specific plus size brands. My kids have grown up and will grow up seeing successful, worthy, loved and cherished, hard working women of ALL sizes.”
Of course, Garcia is gorgeous, but that’s not even the point. The point is that we still live in a society where fatphobia runs rampant, weaving itself through nearly everything, from casual comments about dieting or weight loss to the most extreme examples, like being the kind of person who feels the need to tell someone online what you think of their body under the guise of concern trolling. Weight and health stigma is so prevalent, most people don’t even realize how deeply embedded it is culturally — and that’s where the unlearning comes in. Only when people of all shapes, sizes, and versions of “health” are treated the same as thin, able-bodied, “healthy” people can body positivity find the footing it needs to be the norm and not the exception.
This article was originally published on