Katey Johnson is a mother of two on Long Island, N.Y., who blogs atÂ The Mother OctopusÂ when sheâ€™s not running a photo-frame business from home. Her Aug.Â 14Â post, called â€œA Dress I Have No Business Wearing,â€ was picked up by the Facebook groupÂ Love What Matters, where it swiftly went viral for its DGAF sentiment.
AÂ photo of Johnson wearing a little black dressÂ was accompanied by her post:Â â€œThis is me in a dress I have no business wearing. Itâ€™s not the first time Iâ€™ve worn it and it wonâ€™t be the last time. I know itâ€™s not flattering, but I donâ€™t want you to say, â€˜OMG, YOU LOOK GREAT!â€™ I donâ€™t want you to say, â€˜GOOD FOR YOU!â€™ I want you to know why Iâ€™m wearing a dress I have no business wearing.â€
Johnson explains that a friend had snapped the image two days earlierÂ on the way to dinner. â€œSomeone could say that I look a little pregnant in it, because of, you know, that part sticking out in the front. I do look a little pregnant. Thatâ€™s fine. Once upon a time I grew two babies in that part sticking out in the front, but I assure you, now itâ€™s just where I keep my cheeseburgers and sauvignon blanc.â€
Despite feeling that the dress was not made for her 160-pound, 5-foot-2Â body, Johnson felt amazing wearing it. â€œI donâ€™t know why. I just did. Iâ€™m not known to wear form-fitting clothes. At all. But I wanted it, so I bought it. And I was proud of myself for it.â€
Describing herself as currently the heaviest sheâ€™s ever been and someone who has always struggled with her weight, Johnson made a declaration. â€œAfter 40 years of telling myself I have no business wearing things I want to wear, Iâ€™ve decided to change the subject. Iâ€™ve decided to start being kind to myself.â€
She concluded, â€œSo hereâ€™s the thing: If I can put on a dress I have no business wearing to go out with my husband or to go to a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant with my best friend because it makes me feel good, you can too. If the hard part is talking yourself into it, tell yourself lifeâ€™s too short to worry about things you have no business wearing.â€
Johnsonâ€™s Love What Matters post got 35,000 reactions and more than 5,000 shares (the post on herÂ personal Facebook pageÂ received 10,000 reactions and 2,500 shares), but the comments section forÂ both entries generated the most impact. Women began posting selfies wearing clothing they loved but didnâ€™t feel comfortable wearing because of their weight.
Whatâ€™s more, Johnsonâ€™s post was flooded with comments from women vowing to follow her lead, such as: â€œYouâ€™ve given me something to think about and be proud of, thank you,â€ and â€œThis couldnâ€™t have come at a better time. â€¦ After wearing [an outfit] for baptism last week and seeing pictures I thought I looked horrid in it and was absolutely dreading wearing it. Thank you for this post!â€ Another woman commented: â€œI have got a gown for my birthday that I should have no business wearing. I also have my mommy pouch from my little person and itâ€™s not going anywhere. Thatâ€™s not stopping me from wearing a dress that makes me feel amazing. I wonâ€™t spend the next 6 weeks starving myself or hurting myself in a gym to satisfy anyone else.â€
Johnson tells Yahoo Style that she didnâ€™t read all the comments at first. â€œThe first comment I read on my post was someone writing that I need a tummy tuck, so I decided to not read anymore to avoid getting into a downward spiral,â€ she says. â€œBut my friends kept saying â€˜Read the comments!â€™ and Iâ€™m glad I did.â€
AlthoughÂ Johnson had worn the $16 dress from Marshalls in the past, that night felt different. â€œI was with my best friend, we were having a blast, and even though my tummy was hanging out, suddenly I didnâ€™t care,â€ she says. â€œIf I could let go for a little bit, I wanted other women to do know they could too.â€
Johnson says that sharing the fitted-dress photo was a â€œmilestone.â€ â€œWeâ€™ve all felt at some point that we have â€˜no businessâ€™ wearing certain types of clothing â€” and we probably think it about other people â€” but itâ€™s important to turn off that voice,â€ she tells Yahoo Style.
While the mom didnâ€™t intend to kick-start aÂ body positiveÂ revolution, sheâ€™s grateful for the moment. â€œIâ€™m definitely wearing that dress again,â€ she says.