Lindsey Pelas is a 24-year-old social media star and model whose 32DDD (or 30H) breasts attract a significant amount of attention. On any given Instagram post of Lindsey’s, you’ll find thousands of comments that are alternately fawning and degrading. She spoke to Cosmopolitan.com about what it’s like to get slut-shamed on the Internet and what she really thinks about all those commenters.
I first realized that I was sexy when I was around 14. My boobs were big, but I didn’t knowthey were big until I got a reaction from the boys. They would write my name on the bathroom wall, very cheesy moves. There was so much attention, but I had never asked for it.
I felt like people didn’t understand me. One time, when I was 18, I went to a wedding. I thought I had the cutest dress on, it was a lace baby doll. A guy I didn’t know came up and took a picture of me. I asked, “What are you doing, taking this picture of me?” And he said, “Well, you wore that.” It really hurt my feelings. I was taught by strangers that I should be less sexy and dress differently.
I’ve been called a ho, whore, slut, and bitch. I used to feel really upset when I read nasty comments. But now I feel it’s just a display of ignorance. I’m not mad at you if you want to call me a ho — I’m mad at your mom and dad, I’m mad at your educators, I’m mad at your society that you think that that’s OK.
If it makes me feel good to take a cute picture of myself, if I feel good that I have cleavage, if I like my shirt, I’m going to do what I want to do, because it’s natural to me. I’m not trying to date anyone, I’m not trying to sleep with anyone, I’m certainly not trying to make you angry, so I don’t understand where the criticism has to come from. Why does what I do offend anyone else, ever?
If I were 5-foot-10, flat-chested, and not as curvy, my photos would be artistic, but when I’m in them, they become vulgar and pornographic and overly sexual. Can’t my body be artsy and beautiful in its natural way like everyone else’s?
A ton of social media guys are super sexy — the beautiful faces, the chiseled abs. They’re always posting shirtless pics. I’ve seen their butts online. And it’s nothing but love from women. It’s, “I want to marry you, I adore you.” When a women posts a sexy photo, there’s flattery too, but a lot of it is negativity, anger, jealousy — anything but admiration. I’ve never seen someone leave a “ho” comment on a guy’s picture. Until that day, I feel like we still have work to do.
I get a lot of private messages from young girls with large busts. They say, “I’ve never been confident in my body because my boobs were too big.” They like to see someone that embraces it.
My advice for young women who feel slut-shamed on the Internet is to keep doing whatever it is that you want to do. You have to make yourself happy. We live in a world where, no matter what you’re going to do, you’re going to be criticized for it. The second you own who you are, people are going to feel that energy.
I don’t even enjoy the word “slut-shamer” because I feel like it’s validating the word [“slut”]. I’m not actually a slut. The fact that I’m wearing a short dress doesn’t make me a slut. I refuse to accept the word “slut” as part of my description. It’s misogyny. If you insult women for their bodies online, I feel sorry for you.
It’s so sad that we live in a society that wants you to cover up, that wants you to change the way you look, and that wants you to feel unwelcome in your body because it makes someone uncomfortable. You shouldn’t have to wear a cover-up on the beach because you have big boobs. I think you should wear the sexiest bikini out there, because that’s you! We need to embrace everyone’s body. If we’re going to embrace large women, skinny women, tall, short, why stop at the breast? Why shame a woman for her breasts?
When men comment the nasty “whore,” “slut,” “bitch,” “ho,” “I want to fuck you” — to me, that’s threatening language. I read it all day online, so when I go to the store, I’m usually afraid. I’m afraid of the walk from the car to the door, I’m afraid to go to the gym alone. I’m afraid when someone’s following me too closely even if they’re not following me. When is that guy from the comments going to meet me in public?
I feel like there’s no way to win as a woman. You want to be friendly, but you don’t really want to be pursued all the time. And you certainly don’t want any violence toward you, but where do you stand your ground and be tough, but be nice?
I’m tired of feeling scared where I live. I’m tired of feeling scared at the gas station, I’m tired of being called a ho, I’m just tired of it. Can we do something else? We’re over it!
I love being the bombshell, I love wearing bikinis, I love being sexy, I love boys who hit on me respectfully, I love getting called beautiful. I’ll never not love flattery and compliments. I don’t love anger, I don’t love “slut,” “whore,” “bitch.” I don’t love being scared in public. I feel like with feminism, we can fix that.
I get through it because I practice a lot of self-love. I give myself the benefit of the doubt. To have deep self-love, you’ll know it when you have it, because it’s unfadeable. It’s when you’ve had a bad day and you don’t knock yourself down. You tried your best, you did OK. Really love yourself and remind yourself of all the amazing things you’ve been through and all the things you’ve worked through, and have your back. I feel like self-love will protect you.