Brynne Huffman finally worked up the courage to pull on a pair of shorts while she ran errands in the Texas heat Saturday, only to have another woman body shame her for showing her legs.
Huffman, 39, an actress in Frisco, Tex., posted on Facebook that she was waiting in line at a UPS store, when the woman behind her complimented her hair, before pausing and adding: “‘You should probably rethink the shorts though,’ ” Huffman recalls.
Huffman, now filled with “rage,” says she then turned to the woman, who was wearing a Coexist shirt [promoting acceptance], and said, “You should probably rethink your shirt.”
“I had yet to wear shorts this season and for me there’s always a little hesitance at the beginning of summer,” Huffman tells PEOPLE. “These were also quite a bit shorter than I usually wear, but with shorter legs, shorter shorts make the legs look a little longer, so I went for it!”
Feeling cooler in the heat, she also eventually felt good about her outfit until the woman’s comments provoked anger and shock.
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Huffman thinks public body shaming happens so frequently because people think they can comment on other’s looks.
“The fight against other forms of bigotry has been heavy in mainstream media: religious tolerance, sexual orientation tolerance. In comparison, sizeism doesn’t seem as severe a form of bigotry to many,” she says. “Perhaps people think that makes it OK? That saying rude comments are ‘for someone’s own good?’ ”
As an actress and dancer, Huffman knows firsthand how judgmental people can be about size.
“I did not grow up being plus size, but I was a size 10 actor and dancer amongst a sea of size 2’s,” she says. “I received blunt comments from directors, choreographers, agents, fellow actors and audience members. Although I’m considered in good health per my doctor, people made it a point to tell me otherwise.”
Huffman has since found her body confidence, and wants to use the incident to encourage women to be kinder to each other.
“I’m in a wonderful place now! The factors contributing to that are too numerous to count, but I’m lucky. It’s been a journey.”
“Your body is your business,” she says. “Do not tear each other down. Put on your shorts and get out there.”