In an era where the Kardashian body — you know, the surgically altered and dramatically hourglass figure — is celebrated, the admiration for the natural, the different, the “flaws,” has been forgotten. The fame and limelight that often follows these body types and enhanced facial features used to cast a shadow on the everyday woman. But lately, there has been a rise in women embracing their freckles, dark circles, stretch marks, and scars. Everything they told us we should hide, or filter, or photoshop is now being left unedited.
In 2018, CVS made the bold decision and joined companies like ASOS, Target, Dove and Adidas by launching their unedited, photoshop-free “Beauty in Real Life” campaign. These companies are moving toward body positivity, diversity, and are moving away from the belief that beauty only looks one way. Brands are joining women’s voices by creating a movement that will no longer look at what beauty is supposed to look like, but what beauty actually is. Along with releasing their untouched ad images, CVS also created “The Beauty Mark”, which is a watermark highlighting images that have not been digitally altered. ASOS, along with CVS left their own beauty marks on the models for their ads — stretch marks. Forward-thinking brands are creating an environment of inclusivity for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. And the efforts to praise what is natural seems to be creating a movement where women are being unapologetically, women.
Or is it the other way around? Did the unapologetic woman, tired of conforming to social norms, and frustrated at hiding, make the brands embrace beauty in all forms? I see far too many women, once never considered for ads, killing it — selling confidence, sexiness, and perfection. Women like Virgie Tovar, Author of You Have The Right to Remain Fat and social media body activist, whose Instagram bio reads “Diets Don’t Work” is putting body shammers to, well, shame. Her IG page is full of photos of herself, in any and every outfit, with any and every expression, fearlessly owning every angle.
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A bunch of fat women's bodies were cast and rendered into prehistoric hippo goddesses for this new work by brilliant sculptor + friend Mia Feuer (@feuermia) debuting in LOS ANGELES on February 27 at the @laarboretum. That's my hippo doppelganger behind me! Tonight Mia invited us to her studio for pink champagne and cupcakes to preview the work before it's moved to LA for the "Digital Nature 2019" show. Fat babes of LA, come out and see this magical work! I'll be there opening night ♡
Alongside photos of herself, are shots of her latest work; including a piece she wrote for Forbes titled “Change Clothes To Fit Women. Don’t Ask Women To Change to Fit Clothes.” But Virgie isn’t the only one doing this kind of work. Women like Täo Porchon-Lynch, the 100-year-old yoga teacher who acknowledges that the spirit defines your age; and music artist Alicia Keys who started her make-up free movement, are also in their own way contributing to the body positivity movement. The Grammy singer has been seen on social media and on the red carpet alike rocking a bare face. And then there’s the amazing Gloria Lucas. Gloria started the Instagram page Nalgona Positivity Pride, which is designed to be a welcoming, safe-space for eating disorder survivors. In fact, the young Latina is joining forces with body positivity warriors to strengthen the voice of eating disorder survivors.
Nalgona Positivity Pride and the National Eating Disorder Association have teamed up this week for National Eating Disorder Awareness week on the Come As You Are movement. This week (although not this week alone), the movement is dedicated to embracing and welcoming the dialogue around eating disorders. Too often, these stories are treated as “private matters” but NEDA is creating a platform where survivors no longer need to feel alone or ashamed. According to Neda, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life, with one person dying from this disease every 62 minutes. The reality of it is that unless we are including stories of body-image struggles in the body-positive movement, the progress will be limited and inclusive. This NEDA week, along with the rest of the year, body-positivity, kindness, encouragement and unfiltered images of real people being real people are making a comeback.
After all, self-love isn’t a trend, it’s a revolution.