Fans across the internet are speaking out in support of Florence Pugh after she clapped back at “vulgar” trolls who body-shamed her.
In case you missed it, Florence — along with a ton of other famous faces — attended a Valentino runway show in Rome on Saturday, and she opted to wear a stunning sheer pink dress by the Italian fashion house.
And while most were blown away by the Barbie-esque gown, there were a handful of critics who couldn’t help but focus their attention on Florence’s visible nipples.
Debuting the look on Instagram, the Little Women star poked fun at the chatter surrounding the gown’s sheerness, writing: “Technically they’re covered?”
However, it wasn’t long before the public discussion took a vicious turn, and Florence reemerged on Sunday morning to condemn the hate in a powerful statement that she shared alongside a trio of new photographs of the look.
“I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it. Whether it be negative or positive, we all knew what we were doing,” Florence began, adding that she had been excited to wear the gown and doesn’t regret her choice in spite of the abuse.
Without naming names, the actor went on to call out men in particular for “publicly” and “proudly” criticizing her body.
“What’s been interesting to watch and witness is just how easy it is for men to totally destroy a woman’s body, publicly, proudly, for everyone to see,” she wrote. “You even do it with your job titles and work emails in your bio..?”
“It isn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last time a woman will hear what’s wrong with her body by a crowd of strangers, what’s worrying is just how vulgar some of you men can be,” she added.
Prompting praise from fans, Florence opened up about her relationship with her body, writing that she’s learned to love the “flaws” she “couldn’t bear to look at” as a teenager.
“Thankfully, I’ve come to terms with the intricacies of my body that make me, me,” she wrote. “So many of you wanted to aggressively let me know how disappointed you were by my ‘tiny tits’, or how I should be embarrassed by being so ‘flat chested.’”
“I’ve lived in my body for a long time. I’m fully aware of my breast size and am not scared of it,” she went on.
After giving some insight into her upbringing, telling followers she feels grateful to have been raised by “strong, powerful, curvy women” who encouraged her to “find power in the creases of [her] body,” Florence took time to urge critics to reevaluate their decisions.
“If being loudly abusive towards women publicly in 2022 is so easy for you, then the answer is that it is you who doesn’t know,” she concluded. “Grow up. Respect people. Respect bodies. Respect all women. Respect humans. Life will get a whole lot easier, I promise.”
The post — which she rounded off by hashtagging “#fuckingfreethefuckingnipple” — has since amassed over 1.6 million likes, sparking conversations across social media about the widespread shaming of bodies.
In the comments section beneath the post, thousands of fans showed their support for the Black Widow star, with many saying they felt inspired by her words.
“Not even kidding when i say you truly inspired me to not give a fuck about when i wear a shirt without a bra,” one fan wrote, prompting a response from Florence who said simply: “Set. Those. Babies. Freeeeeeeee.”
“Thank you for being so confident in your body,” echoed another. “This is so helpful to girls who are feeling insecure with similar body types.”
Someone else added: “YOU’RE AN INSPIRATION MISS PUGH! Thank you for talking about things other people are too afraid to bring up.”
A ton of celebs rallied around Florence in the comments section too, including Ariana DeBose, Jameela Jamil, Gemma Chan, and the designer of the dress itself, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli.
The praise also extended to Twitter, where users celebrated Florence’s “fantastic” response to the hate, spotlighting her mature handling of “the usual BS assassination of women’s bodies that far too many people like to engage in.”
Another applauded the actor for detailing her experience with body-shaming and making others feel seen in the process.
“She literally explained in detail the struggles and habits that I had to deal [with] on a daily,” someone tweeted in response to the statement. “I love this incredible brave woman & I’m rooting for anyone who’s going through any similar struggles or insecurities.”
And, of course, plenty of others were quick to point toward the gendered double standards that have long dictated the censorship of bodies, and how Florence’s sheer gown helped them reevaluate their own biases.
“I’ve been raised in a way that means my knee jerk reaction is to think this is wrong, but it’s not,” one BuzzFeed reader wrote in reference to the dress. “Men bare their chests all the time without a second thought, there is absolutely nothing sexual about female nipples in comparison to men.”
“Sometimes we just need to sit with our discomfort and figure out where it’s coming from, before putting that discomfort on to somebody else,” they added.
However, in spite of the overwhelming amount of praise for Florence, there were a few critics who took issue with the fact that she singled out men in particular.
This criticism even prompted a response from the Midsommar actor, who explained her reasoning after an Instagram follower aired their grievances in the comments section below the statement, accusing her of perpetuating “men hate.”
“This is certainly not man hate, and I’m sorry if my post made you feel triggered,” Florence’s reply began, before going on to highlight that body-shaming between women can be equally as harmful.
“It’s all a sensitive topic, body shaming and belittling should never be okay,” she wrote. “But if it’s mainly coming from one direction.. How else do I single it out?”
“Men do comment on a lot of things regarding our lives and our control and our bodies. Most of our insecurities come from and start from the voices of teenage boys from the ages of 11-18,” she added, alluding back to the perceived teenage “flaws” she referred to in the statement.
Florence concluded by telling the commenter: “I’m not attacking you. I’m attacking misogynists, and if that’s not you then fantastic.”