Plus-size model Iskra Lawrence undresses on New York subway car to deliver message about body-shaming

The model has previously been involved in campaigns to stop online harassment

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The Independent Online

A British model undressed in the middle of a busy New York City subway car to deliver an impassioned message about body-shaming. 

Twenty-six-year-old Iskra Lawrence filmed her speech to the captive audience. Ms Lawrence beckoned passengers – and her followers with whom the video would be shared – to “celebrate difference”. 

Her speech comes at a time when body-shaming was a primary focal point of the US election, as now-President-elect Donald Trump met criticism of his sexist remarks made to women. He was also embroiled in controversy after the revelation of a tape that captured him bragging about sexually assaulting women because he could get away with it.

For her part, Ms Lawrence focused on media portrayals of women that enable misogynistic attitudes like those held by the President-elect.

“I grew up hating what I saw in the mirror because society told me I was not good enough. I thought there was something wrong because I didn’t have a thigh gap, that I had cellulite,” she said. 

“That is the media; that is society making a small standard of beauty, when we are so much more than that.

“This body is not just something to be objectified, to be grabbed, to be looked at. This is my vessel. This is my home. I respect it.”

She concluded: “When you look in the mirror when you get home, do not pick out your insecurities. Do not look at the things society told you was not good enough, because you are so much more than that. Look at your body and see why we appreciate it. Start talking to yourself, celebrating who you are and respecting that.”

Ms Lawrence recently called on the social media companies Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to address the rampant abuse – such as rape and death threats – women receive on the platforms. 

She previously told The Independent that she received an onslaught of comments about her body size, being a size 14 model. 

"The worst [comment] for me personally was when someone said 'people like you, plus size – WTF, you're disgusting. People liek you are why the NHS is f'ed up' and 'put down your crisps and your McDonalds'," she recalled. "I read it because a fan on a page of mine had DM'd me saying she'd been so upset by it and she was crying – it had really ruined her day. 

"I just thought, 'Wow, this is not OK'."