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The Brave Reason This Brave Woman Stripped in Public and Asked Strangers to Draw on Her

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Jae West stood in one of London’s biggest tourist areas armed with pens, a white board and a blindfold. The one thing she didn’t have? Her clothes.

West slipped off her dress, propped up her whiteboard on her shins and wrapped her blindfold around her eyes. She stood in Piccadilly Circus in only her bra and underwear with a sign that read, “I’m standing for anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or self-esteem issue like me…to support self-acceptance draw a (heart) on my body.”

I was scared that no one was going to draw a love heart on my body and I was going to be left out there in the open in my underwear on show to be ridiculed,” West wrote in a post for Inspiralight, a blog that focuses on inspiring stories, adventures and social experiments.

West’s fears were calmed when one pen slid out of her grasp, and she began crying as a stranger drew the first heart on her body. While the whole experience was moving for West, she says her heart was touched when she heard a father explaining the project to his kids, telling them to appreciate the bodies they were given.

“If everyone could know and appreciate how beautiful they are from childhood I think this world would be a very different place,” West wrote.

The idea for this social experiment came from Amanda Palmer‘s TED talk, “The Art of Asking,” where the singer-songwriting describes stripping down and letting fans write anything on her body. Inspired, West wanted to combine the vulnerability of nudity with self-esteem issues in a public place, and raise awareness for an issue that crosses all borders. Eating disorders affect about 70 million individuals worldwide, according to The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders

“I knew this was a global concept that many people could relate to, so putting myself in that situation really was a stand for everyone out there that has been confronted with self-doubt in relation to the way they look,” West wrote.

You can watch the experiment below.

Originally published: August 18, 2015
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