Recently, the CLEO team put together a supplementary booklet called CLEO Body & Fitness. In a booklet dedicated to bodies, health and feeling good, we decided that we needed to include a story on body positivity. It was important to us that if you pick up this booklet, you don’t walk away with the feeling that if you were in possession of a few jiggly bits, you had better get rid of them as fast as you possibly could, because only bodies that were taut, toned, tanned and perfect deserved to be showcased. 

So we reached out to a body positivity blogger, Aarti Olivia Dubey, and asked her to share her story. The point of the story was simple – every body is a bikini body. It doesn’t matter if you have lumps or curves, it doesn’t matter if you don’t; the idea that only a certain kind of body “deserves” to wear a particular item of clothing is just wrong to us. 

To prove the point, we asked Aarti, and two of her friends, to pose in bikinis for a photo shoot. Baring yourself in a studio to have your photograph published and printed is something any one of us might find difficult to do, but Aarti, Ratna and Rani had no such qualms and brought so much fun, energy, and positivity to this shoot. And the results, which you can see here, are – we think – amazing. 

Which is why, this morning, we were surprised and disappointed to learn that a picture Aarti had posted of herself and her friends at our shoot was deleted by Instagram, because someone had reported it as “inappropriate”. 

Here is the photo deleted by Instagram, which was reposted by Aarti.



@instagram THIS is the image that was reported by fat shamers and trolls, and YOU deleted it. HOW is this image being hateful, hurtful, abusive, trolling or obscene? Do 3 fat girls in swimsuits equate to gore, porn, racism, sexism? Or is it that people only want to see slim girls in swimsuits? IF this image is reported and deleted again, please trust that I WILL pursue this matter just like @rupikaur_ did when her image of lying in a period stain was removed. I am so disappointed and beyond livid right now. No Thanks to you and the people who had the gall to report this image, for making me feel so badly this Monday morning about my existence as a brown fat woman. My dear friends on social media, if you would like to help, please do so by reposting this image and sharing this post all over social media platforms, as many as you like. #bodypositive #celebratemysize #pizzasisters4lyfe #fuckfatphobia #losehatenotweight #nobodyshame #plussize #effyourbeautystandards #woc #intersectionalfeminism

A photo posted by Aarti Olivia Dubey (@curvesbecomeher) on


If you’re a straight-sized person, it’s easy not to “see” size. It’s easy to complain about that bit of extra flesh here, or our awkwardly-shaped whatevers, and easy to forget that we don’t actually know what it’s like to have our bodies heavily policed and censored; or what it’s like to be told time and time again, “You do not deserve to be seen”. So what do you see here? We see bold, confident, proud women, who are – most of all – happy. And if you ask us, that’s not “inappropriate”, that’s a cause for celebration. 


Text: Kit Chua
Images: Instagram (@curvesbecomeher), SPHM Pte Ltd