Brooke Birmingham is ecstatic about her 170-pound weight loss. Shape magazine got word of her transformation and wanted the Illinois blogger to send in a picture of herself for an online article. Birmingham was hesitant at first but decided to send a bikini pic considering how proud she is of her new figure, despite some of its imperfections. Indeed, Birmingham wanted to show her real body.

While Birmingham was courageous enough to send in a bikini photo, Shape magazine apparently wasn’t brave enough to publish it. The reporter who she corresponded with asked if she could send a different image, one in which she was a little more covered up.

Birmingham, 28, felt belittled, but instead of backing down, she posted her two-piece bathing suit picture to her blog. “I don’t feel like my body was given the same respect as others on their site,” she wrote in a blog post on May 2. Birmingham added the magazine didn’t want to show her “real” body, one that has extra skin on her belly.

She continued: “I want to show others that you should be proud of your body no matter what, because it can do some pretty incredible things for you!”

The magazine, however, chalked it all up to a misunderstanding. In a statement to Today, they said: “This is a result of a misunderstanding with a freelance writer. This does not represent Shape’s editorial values and the comments made about Shape’s ‘editorial policy’ are absolutely untrue. Shape prides itself on empowering and celebrating women like Brooke, and any indication that we would not run the piece with the photo provided was wrong, as we would have been proud to share her inspirational story.”

But not everyone is convinced that a mistake was the cause. Today anchor Tamron Hall said magazine’s go after “perfection.” “Magazines are in the beauty business and always have to pick the ‘perfect specimen’ for everything,” Hall said on Wednesday. “We’re in a world where beautiful models are airbrushed so it doesn’t surprise me.”

Birmingham wants people to know she didn’t do any of this for attention, but to show that everyone can love their bodies no matter what the “media’s perception of what ideal image is,” she said in an email to Today.

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