My Inspiration

The Embrace documentary follows Tanya Brumfitt’s journey about learning to love our bodies as they are. Her passionate message started after she posted an unusual set of before and after photos. Tanya’s before photo was taken straight after a women’s figure competition, and her after photo was taken of her naked body after having three babies. I was inspired by her story and shared her frustration at the current state of society. I wanted to embrace the idea of loving my body as it is right now and celebrating all the amazing things my body does for me. I wanted to say no to the body loathing and criticism of my physical shape.

The Challenge

I’m sure you can easily rattle off a number of reasons you don’t like your body, well, I want you write down a list of all the wonderful things about your body instead.

Here’s my own list to get you started…

I love the color of my eyes and hair. I have great skin, with a cute little birthmark on my wrist. My hands create amazing art and crafts which I love giving to people. My legs have walked me around different countries, climbed up mountains, and journeyed through natural forests, where I have seen breath-taking views and waterfalls. My smile is my greatest asset and it tells my friends and family when I’m happy to be present and appreciate their jokes. My stomach processes the fabulous food I am lucky to eat into the energy I need, and lets me know when danger is around.

Would you be brave enough to do this?

Verily is the first magazine to have a no-Photoshop policy, and explains that,

“Other magazines use Photoshop to achieve the ‘ideal’ body type and skin, we firmly believe that the unique features of women — be it crow’s feet, freckles, or a less-than-rock-hard body — contribute to their beauty and don’t need to be removed or changed with Photoshop. Therefore, we never alter the body or facial structure of our models, remove wrinkles or birthmarks, or change the texture of their skin. We aim to show everyone at their best, but also firmly believe that ‘your best’ is not a work of fiction.”

Here are some great cover shots of celebrities, untouched, showing their natural selves. Don’t they look great and authentic?

Time to Take Action

There a number of things we need to change, so that we can all promote a positive body image and support all body types, shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities, and abilities.

  • I want advertisers, magazines, websites and social media to stop excessive digital manipulation (Photoshopping) of images of people which reinforce unrealistic and unachievable expectations.
  • I want to see body diversity in the books and articles we read. I want to see body diversity in the movies and televisions shows I watch. I want to watch movies which pass the Bechdel test.
  • I want shops to use mannequins of real sized women, like the ones used by Swedish retailer, Åhléns.
  • I want you to praise people (especially young girls) for what they do, rather than what they look like.
  • I want to stop reading about who wore it better – they both rocked the outfit.
  • I want to stop reading articles about shock plastic surgery and seeing images of people when they are in a vulnerable place and their privacy has been invaded.
  • I want to stop reading ridiculous sound bite exercise programs and diets which leave you hungry (with no proven scientific results).
  • I want you to rock your jelly belly.

Please consider watching the Embrace documentary and joining the Body Image Movement. Stop following social media accounts, and buying magazines, which promote only one body shape. Pledge to not use a Photo-shopped or filtered images of yourself on your LinkedIn account or other social media accounts. If you feel passionate about this topic, please consider writing to your favourite magazines, websites, retailers, et cetera and ask for them to change.

Tanya Brumfitt

Tanya Brumfitt’s before and after photo

Let’s make 2017 the year women and men celebrate body diversity.