It was around 11 at night, and Lesego Legobane was getting ready to go to bed. A friend asked if she had seen the tweet about her, which had been circulating on the internet.
It was posted by a Twitter user named Leyton Mokgerepi, and it showed two pictures side by side, one of a thin model, and one of a plus-size model.
The caption read: "Girls that I like vs Girls that like me."
Girls that I like vs Girls that like me pic.twitter.com/3TDfKVs7bo
— Leyton Mokgerepi (@imleyton) September 19, 2017
Legobane, a 24-year-old South African photographer, plus-size model and body positive activist is used to seeing comments like this. She was far from surprised.
“It didn’t even take me a second to reply,” she explained. “I was like, ‘Here we go again with this body-shaming nonsense; this is so tiring.’ I had no energy to fight with him or whatever, hence the simple answer.”
Her simple answer, "I don’t like you," went viral.
I don't like you https://t.co/91TJ5xypV8
— lee (@ThickLeeyonce) September 19, 2017
Legobane was retweeted hundreds of thousands of times by people all over the world — including celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Ava DuVernay and Nicki Minaj.
“It’s crazy that those four words were so impactful,” says Legobane. “I didn’t even dream of getting 10 retweets.”
Legobane says she is proud of her body. “I actually genuinely love the fat on my body; I love the curves; I love the soft belly; I literally love it, and I love how I look in clothes.”
She wishes the word "fat" didn’t carry a stigma.
"People can use the word 'skinny' to compliment you and be like, "Oh girl, you lost so much weight; you look skinny and pretty,’ and nobody will get mad,"" she says. "Why can’t we use fat in the same way, like, 'Girl, you so fat and you so fine.'"
She hopes that maybe this whole Twitter controversy can be the first step in that direction.
“I hope more than anything young woman and old woman, and just women in general, take away from this whole thing the importance of loving themselves,” she says, adding, “The importance of understanding that [you] don’t have to look like the next girl in order to be beautiful. You have to learn to be beautiful like yourself, learn to celebrate your own beauty standards, stick to them, celebrate them and love yourself.’’
And the guy who wrote the original tweet?
She hopes that he understands that she just really doesn’t like him.
“That is the most important part that he needs to take away from it,” Legobane laughs.
From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI