Ad of the Day: Why This Woman Faced Her Fears and Bravely Undressed in a Busy Square

Experiment in self-acceptance

Stunts designed to impart a message about body image have been so commonplace that many of them fade into the background. But this one, from a group called the The Liberators, is undeniably powerful—almost iconic in its simple, visceral message about loving one's body.

A young woman named Jae West walked into London's Picadilly Circus one Sunday and began to undress. She then put a sign in front of her, put a blindfold on and stood nervously with her arms outstretched.

Check out the video to see what happened next.

In a blog post, West said she had suffered from an eating disorder through high school and into her early 20s. But then one night she watched Amanda Palmer's TED talk, "The Art of Asking," in which Palmer talks about how she had stripped naked and let her fans draw and write anything they wanted on her. 

"That night as I was going to bed, the idea of linking the vulnerability of nudity with self-esteem issues in a public setting came to mind," West writes. "Just the thought of looking down at my body and seeing it covered in love hearts from other people brought tears to my eyes. It was a reality check of how harsh we can be on ourselves, we really can be our own worst critics. The unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves can cause us to reject the love that others openly give because of a feeling of unworthiness."

She was scared to go through with it—she admits to feeling "an overwhelming sense of vulnerability" right beforehand. But she knew she had a potent idea.

"I knew this was a global concept that many people could relate to," she writes, "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."

Check out her full essay here, and the Palmer TED talk below.