Growing up, Chidera Eggerue hated her body because of her self-proclaimed "saggy boobs." But when she turned 19, she stopped wearing bras, embraced her breasts, and learned to love herself.
Now 23, Eggerue, who has a blog called the Slumflower, spreads her message of self-love and body positivity through the #SaggyBoobsMatter social-media campaign.
The movement seems to have struck a chord within the body-positivity community and is picking up steam on social media, especially on Twitter and Instagram.
"As much as there's progress, we still have a long way to go when it comes to the way we speak about women's bodies," Eggerue told INSIDER. "The body-positivity movement can often be harder for slim women to participate in, because we have body hangups, too."
The award-winning blogger, who is based in London, often shares screenshots of messages she's received from people who find her posts inspirational.
On January 21, Eggerue shared a direct message from an anonymous Twitter user who praised her campaign:
"I am a 'saggy-boobed woman,' I've always felt ashamed about it. But you've come along and made it look sexy and by you embracing it, it's also encouraged me to [do] so," the message said.
In a different message shared by Eggerue on January 21, another anonymous Twitter user wrote that the blogger's posts were relatable.
"I was like the only girl with the saggy boob problem, so I would try to Google ways to make them perkier. I'm so glad to see someone taking a stand and shedding light on the fact that it's natural," the woman wrote.
Eggerue explained that she especially loves hearing from mothers who are learning to love their postpartum bodies.
"It's been the most exciting to receive messages from breastfeeding mothers expressing and celebrating how happy they feel to have found this hashtag because they've felt so much shame in their bodies, even though they're taking part in the beautifully natural process of feeding their newborn babies," she said.
But the response hasn't been entirely positive.
"I've received a lot of ignorant comments from horrible men and confused women," Eggerue said.
The blogger told BuzzFeed News that people may have responded negatively to her posts because they're not used to seeing women with saggy boobs. At one point, a picture of Eggerue was included in a body-shaming meme.
"It was quite hurtful to see that a stranger had gone to my page, stolen a photo of me that I took on my birthday, and thought it would be a good idea to turn it into a meme comparing women to phone battery life," she told BuzzFeed. "My photo was compared to a dying phone battery, meaning that I was seen as unattractive."
The meme got even more attention when it was shared by Don Jazzy, a Nigerian music producer who has a large following.
"What was more hurtful was seeing the meme shared by a famous Nigerian musician with a very large audience, so the comments were full of strangers laughing at my body," Eggerue continued.
Eggerue shared a screenshot of the meme, claiming that Jazzy "body-shamed and slandered" her. The next day, the musician apologized and deleted his post. "Wasn't my intention to do that. Post has been deleted immediately. Pls accept my sincere apology," he wrote.
But the experience reminded Eggerue why she's working so hard to normalize saggy boobs.
"My biggest goal is to simply normalize nature. Not all natural boobs are saggy. Not all older women have saggy boobs. Boobs are just boobs," she said.
Eggerue is passionate about spreading this message because it's personal to her. Growing up, she thought her breasts were abnormal because she didn't see them represented in the media or stores.
"A lack of representation of saggy-looking boobs when I used to go bra shopping in [Marks & Spencer] [as a young teenager] made me realize that something is wrong with the way the world views women's bodies," she told BuzzFeed News. "The packaging would always have a picture of a white woman with perky boobs, yet when I'd try on the same bra in my correct size, my boobs just wouldn't look like the model pictured."
"It was so bad that at that age I had already decided that I'd get a boob job once I got my first job at 18," she said. "I reached 18 and didn't get a job, let alone a boob job."
Eggerue told INSIDER that at 19, she decided to stop hating herself.
"I grew tired of finding a reason to condemn myself and I felt exhausted by the idea of avoiding certain outfits that would reveal the posture of my boobs. I began by making small decisions like choosing not to wear a bra from the age of 19," she explained. "That then evolved into me refusing to feel intimidated by deep-plunge dresses and tops."
At that point, Eggerue said, she decided to stop wearing bras, which ultimately led her to become the body-positivity advocate she is today.
Although Eggerue started the campaign because of her own life experiences, #SaggyBoobsMatter is really about empowering others.
"For the women who look like me: Your saggy boobs matter," she told BuzzFeed News. "And from now until you die, what's going to matter, ultimately, is your character. Sometimes people are scared of what they haven't been taught to accept. We still have to exist loudly, though."
In the meantime, you can read the full transcript of the tweets included above.
The first message:
"You've probs had this message 100 times over but just in case you haven't heard it enough. Man. Your movement #saggyboobsmatter is stirring something in me. I am a 'saggy boobed woman,' I've always felt ashamed about it. But you've come along and made it look sexy and by you embracing it, it's also encouraged me to so. You've given me a softer lens to see myself boobs from. So thank you. I'm so glad you didn't leave saggy boobs out of the body positive conversation."The second message.
"I LOVE this post so much!! I've always struggled with saggy boobs, and I got bullied a lot when I was in school. I was like the only girl with the saggy boob problem, so I would try to Google ways to make them perkier. I'm so glad to see someone taking a stand and shedding light on the fact that it's natural and some of us just can't help the way we were made!"https://www.thisisinsider.com/slumfl...ovement-2018-2