This is where we share stuff we can’t share on our Facebook page for fear of being kicked out!
Usually the posts are about body image, sometimes there’s nudity and links about sex but we’re all adults here.
I have been a visibly fat person on the internet for nearly two years, a fashion designer for six and an online journalist for eight so I know a thing or two about what goes down in the comments section. I still remember the first time I experienced it. I wrote an article about shopping at thrift stores for AOL and someone in the comments called me a communist which was a pretty big leap. I learned then that people in the comments can sometimes feel both an inflated sense of self importance and also a unique kind of bravery that gives them a sense of entitlement to say things that they would probably never say to my face especially when I never asked for their opinion. I’m not a human being to them: I’m a byline on the story they didn’t like; the butt of their fat jokes and the designer who dared to break their cherished fashion rules.
A new campaign is celebrating all bodies by selling a little bit of self-love.
Created by Wear Your Voice Magazine, #BeyondBeauty is a campaign that hopes to challenge brands that promote body positivity to include a more diverse range of women in their advertisements. The campaign includes a photo series which features 18 women of all body shapes.
“It is a campaign whose only selling point is self-love,” a WYV press release reads. “We’re not endorsing a product, we are supporting authenticity in all its forms. We are daring to look beyond this traditional and limiting idea of ‘beauty’ to see the strength that not only lies within, but that exudes from all.”
The series features different types of photos, such as a body-positive take on before and after images where nothing about the women have actually changed. Other images feature women of all shapes, colors and abilities in an ad-style photo with boxes such as “Flawed” and “Flawless” checked off next to one another.
When I think of the term “body positivity,” my mind often conjures up images of fat, unapologetic ladies doing their thing and giving no effs about it. But the thing about body positivity is that it’s about way more than fat women. And this is something that body-positive photo shoots generally serve to remind us of.
Whether their focus is on fat bodies, queer bodies, bodies of color, disabled bodies, or everything and anything in between, the beauty of photography as it applies to the fight for inclusivity is that it seems to enable so much diverse expression and representation. There are arguably few things in this world which can cause us to stop and think as quickly and as intensely as a striking image. And it’s that urge to make people stop and think that is at the core of most body-positive photo shoots and campaigns.
Most millennials have grown up seeing one principal body type represented in the images they consume: thin, able, cis, white bodies. Despite the beauty these bodies possess, however, having one is simply not the only means to a fulfilled existence in this world. As well as highlighting that there does exist beauty in every form and color and shape and gender identity, these 11 body-positive shoots highlight that one of the most beautiful things we can strive to be is inclusive.
Women who nurse negative thoughts about their appearance think that people look at them just as disapprovingly. Such a negative body image can lead to a wide range of complaints, from depression to eating disorders and obesity. A solution appears to be at hand: women who concentrate on what their body can do instead of what it looks like are far more satisfied about their appearance. Psychologist Jessica Alleva discovered this during her PhD project ‘Give us a smile and lighten us up’ that she carried out with funding from the Free competition of NWO Division for the Social Sciences. Alleva defends her PhD thesis on Wednesday 25 November at Maastricht University.