One of my intentions for The Pro-Body Project is to introduce you to voices, other than my own, on the broad subject of body image.
So with that in mind, I went to see “Embrace,” a documentary by an Australian mum of three, Taryn Brumfitt. Taryn attempts to tackle the myth of the perfect body and the culture that drives so many of us to despair, trying to attain it.
Taryn shot to fame when she posted a set of pictures on Facebook that subverted the usual before and after shots. The photographs went viral, receiving more than 3.6 million clicks overnight. From this the Body Image Movement was born, followed by two years of travelling, filming and editing to produce “Embrace,” which Taryn believes, “Has the ability to change the way a generation of body haters feel about themselves.”
Whilst I’m not convinced “Embrace” offers anything new to most adult viewers, the interviews with women from varying backgrounds, cultures and countries are inspirational.
I had tears streaming down my face within the first few minutes, laughed along with Taryn – who isn’t afraid to laugh at herself – and felt admiration for every brave woman who shared her story. “Embrace’s” strength lies in Taryn’s passionate desire to celebrate the fact that the female form comes in all shapes and sizes and that there’s no one right way to look.
As much as I would encourage every woman to see “Embrace,” I’ve written previously about my problem with the body acceptance movement and my feelings haven’t changed – even though I applaud the important work of the various groups and the people they do help. But I continue to ask why so many of us suffer from a negative self-image? Whilst I’m aware the media – in all its forms – is held responsible, I can’t help feeling the true complexities of this issue are not being acknowledged and that some voices still aren’t being heard.
At the same time, I wonder if there’s also a danger of going over the same ground; repeatedly talking about body issues and then telling women that there are far more important things to worry about, beside our looks, shape and size. That just makes me want to scream, “We know that!” and yet that knowledge only made me feel worse. So rather than trying to shame women into letting go of their body hang-ups, perhaps it’s time for a new dialogue.
My suggestion is to review what everyone is saying within the body acceptance movement, take what resonates with you, and leave the rest. Just as the female form comes in all shapes and sizes, so too can our approach to learning to love our bodies.