Katy Perry, Adele, Amy Schumer … the list of celebrities speaking out about body positivity seems to get longer by the day. Collectively, their voices are scratching the surface of what girls and women have been faced with for far too long; equating our worth with the size of our body.
While it is truly amazing that these women have taken this on and given it a voice, I am a bit concerned that we don’t have more everyday people leading the pack. Why do we always have to wait for the celebrities to give something a voice before we decide to sign the petition and join the march?
Don’t get me wrong, the attention they are drawing to such a significant issue is immeasurable, but I am often left to wonder if relying solely on celebrities to empower us is the best message to send women — and perhaps more importantly, our girls.
This platform needs both celebrities and the rest of us stepping up to the plate. Body positivity is, after all, about ALL women, and it must start by genuinely loving who we are as human beings. And that means every day — even when we’re feeling our lowest.
When I think about my own life, I struggle to recall the number of times when I’ve heard a woman say that she loves her body; that she is happy with how she looks right now. Even if we have obtained our “ideal size” at some point in our life, we still spend way too much time determining how we feel by the size of our body.
Of course, I’m no stranger to this myself. I’ve spent over three decades playing this game with myself and now feel a sense of urgency to make some kind of peace with myself because this is no longer just about me; I have an 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son to teach about acceptance and respect.
All of this has been flooding my mind lately after I came across ModCloth’s latest swim campaign — which is aiming to do just that: teach and encourage body acceptance and respect, by featuring “real women” with “real bodies” in their swimsuit ads. In fact, instead of casting models, the clothing company asked employees and customers of all shapes and sizes to join the campaign and model the swimwear.
The timing of it is pretty perfect, too, considering we are now heading straight into swimsuit season, which means our newsfeeds are about to be clogged with headlines on how to get “bikini-ready” in just a few short weeks. But in flipping the script, and celebrating all women, ModCloth is paving the way for body positivity in a whole new way, one swimsuit at a time.
According to ModCloth founder Susan Gregg-Koger:
“The goal is to portray women in a positive way and encourage them to be their best self – beyond size. We want to make it normative that women are considered capable and confident leaders no matter their size. We want the dialogue to be deeper than ‘you’re more than your measurements’ and ‘your measurements aren’t a judgement’.”
Can I say hell yes to this, one-thousand times? Finally, a company that gets it. While we all love to see our favorite Hollywood A-listers spout #bodypositivity messages in interviews, or see them post unretouched beach selfies that reveal bodies somewhat resemble our own in a swimsuit, we must start using women who are not in the spotlight to really make this movement stick.
My daughter happened to be sitting next to me while I was writing this and asked to look at the website that I was so excited about. While scrolling through the pictures and reading some of the captions, she turned to me and said, “Mom, I love these swimsuits.” While that statement by itself is insignificant, what it didn’t say spoke volumes to me. You see, not once while looking at all the pictures did she reference their bodies. Not once did she comment on how “different” the women looked compared to the “bikini-ready” images that we’re bombarded with daily.
Dare I say, we may be able to break the cycle?
I took that moment to turn to her and share the four most important things I want her to believe about her body — and that I truly want us all to believe:
- Please don’t ever doubt the abilities of your body. It is just as strong as your mind.
- Ignore the negative messages you hear and see. You are beautiful and capable just the way you are.
- Your body was built for you; no one else. Be proud of what your muscles can and will do.
- Wear the size that was meant for you and wear it proudly.
My daughter is part of the next generation of girls who have the potential to be raised in a world that on some level, welcomes all sizes of women. Now more than ever, it is my responsibility to instill in her the idea that when someone judges her by the way she looks, it doesn’t define her — it defines them.More On