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Posted: 2:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014

Plus-size women participate in lingerie store Valentine's challenge

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Curvy Girl Valentine's Day challenge photo
Curvy Girl Valentine's Day challenge
Plus-size women participate in Valentine's Day challenge

By Heather Holmes

KTVU-TV - Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. —

A California woman is leading a unique Valentine's Day challenge to anyone who's been bullied because of their weight.

With super-skinny models gliding down the runways at New York fashion week and flawless celebrities with stunning bodies gracing magazine covers promoting an unrealistic body image, many women feel inadequate.

Chrystal Bougon owns plus-size lingerie shop Curvy Girl in San Jose.

She's encouraging women to write a love letter to their bully this holiday.

"I thought it would be powerful for people to write a note to say 'Here's exactly how I felt about what you did to me. But guess what?  I'm ok.  I'm doing great,'" explained Bougon.

Women are responding in numbers.

They're posting pictures and love letters to their bullies on Curvy Girl's Facebook page.

One of the notes reads:  "All women deserve to feel sexy and beautiful.  My heart breaks for you that you can't see beauty in all bodies. I hope one day you will find some love in your life so you can learn to love yourself and stop putting fat women down to fill your sad, empty heart.  Love, a fat girl in San Jose." 

San Jose psychologist Aurianne Dorsay said body image and self-esteem issues are prevalent among the women she treats.

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Dorsay says the love letter campaign can help empower those hurt by harsh words. 

"It takes a tremendous amount of courage and it often takes a tremendous amount of support from loved ones to be able to come up with the courage to say no you can't tell me how I should feel in my body or about my body," said Dorsay.

Bougon, who opened her store more than a year ago to help plus-size women see themselves as beautiful, is now using her store as a platform to give fat-shamed women a voice.  

"My end goal is to create more empathy and compassion so that everybody can see beauty in all things," Bougon said.

To see some of the letters written in the challenge or to write one of your own, visit the Curvy Girl Facebook page.

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