Body image and health are very important to everyone, not just women. But it is women who are primarily targeting in the advertising, fashion and wellness industries so it’s no wonder there is a lot of focus on trying to empower women to be their best selves. Yet there is far too much shaming going on in many of these industries. Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world where women were taught to love themselves toward health and wellness, rather than feeling ashamed of their bodies and hating themselves?
Unfortunately, whenever anything to do with body positivity pops up online or in society, the joy-police are always around to make sure their negative comments and opinions about someone else’s body are heard. We live in a culture where it has become acceptable to make fun of someone who doesn’t fit into the ideal mold forced upon us by the aforementioned billion dollar industries.
In the UK people like Katie Hopkins whose offensive opinions about larger women and men have been given too much of a public platform and it is extremely sad. It’s not as if every larger person is in denial about their health, they just shouldn’t have to air their private struggles publicly just because some fat-shamers like Katie Hopkins think they need to.
There are plenty of body positive movements and ambassadors fighting back against the cruel bullying, instead fostering a community of support saying there is no reason not to love your body while you are on your journey. Blogger and international model Tess Holliday has become one of the most outspoken and public figures on this issue for a generation of women who have been crying out for a role model to stand against the shaming.
She regularly shuts down trolls who accuse her of being unhealthy at her size (22). Tess is quick to point out that health doesn’t just come in one size, and that women should be allowed to feel comfortable and happy in their body no matter what size and not be accused of promoting obesity.
To us it seems like a no-brainer to create a culture of support and encouragement to help women reach their health goals, rather than forcing them to feel fear, shame and hate which doesn’t do any good!
Another woman wanting to make a bold statement about the public body image conversation is Brazilian photographer Mariana Godoy. The 22 year old decided to photograph a group of plus size women in a series called ‘Empoderarte Me’ which translates to “Empowering Me” in English.
In the images we see each woman looking happy, confident and comfortable in her body. And for those who equate feeling “comfortable” as a woman who isn’t bothered with working on her health, just stop right there. Let’s not jump to conclusions and place undue blame on women simply because they feel comfortable posting images online. Got it? OK, let’s move on…
“I chose lingerie because photographs of fat woman in lingerie are rare, so this was a form of protest and self-acceptance,” Mariana told the Daily Mail.
“I think if a fat woman sees the images, she will feel the power of the girls who were photographed. The power of self-love, to love each definition of love. To be unique and wonderful,” she added.
Some of the women have slogans painted on their bodies such as “my body my rules” and “fat and healthy”. The idea is to remove negativity from the word fat, and reclaim it as a word that doesn’t hold such shame and condemnation with it.
“What people see when they think of beautiful is subjective. But I want people to see that every woman is beautiful and sensual independent of her weight,” she told Cosmopolitan magazine.
“There is a lot of prejudice against the word fat [in Brazil] … people judge and condemn fat people. This is a fight I really want to win.”
She also told Cosmopolitan that women who don’t have blonde hair, blue eyes, slim hips, and big breasts aren’t considered beautiful in Brazil — even though most women in Brazil don’t fit into that mold. It’s no different from unrealistic ideals of beauty elsewhere in the world. In countries like the US where excessive photoshop has become the norm, who is anyone to shame a woman for not fitting the “ideal” when that ideal doesn’t exist in the first place?
The media gives far too much space to people like Katie Hopkins who aren’t actually there to do something meaningful, rather they are given a platform to distract the rest of us from getting on with what’s important in our lives. So let’s do that, shall we? Thanks to these wonderfully empowering images from Mariana Godoy, we are choosing to be part of the crowd that is promoting positivity when it comes to body image.
“I want to prove that not every obese or fat person has health problems. A thin person may also have health problems. Being healthy has nothing to do with your size,” Mariana said.
After getting the idea for the photo shoot from a friend of hers, she put out a casting call online and had a group of plus size women volunteer to be seen in their underwear, and some topless, for her cause.
We have shared some of our favorite images here in this post, but we just want to remind all of our wonderful readers that health looks different on every body. Let’s be slow to jump to conclusions and judgements, and quick to embrace a spirit of positivity and support, especially when it comes to issues of body image and body confidence.