Body image is a tricky subject. It’s something we deal with every day, whether we realize it or not. “Do I look ok in these pants?” “Wow, she’s gotten thin.” “He has great muscles, why don’t mine look like that?”
We have thoughts like these so many times per day, we barely even notice any more. Even those who normally have great body image can catch themselves having negative thoughts about their bodies, or someone else’s.
Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to remind us that you can be happy and healthy without being supermodel thin or bodybuilder built. Here are five films that we think are worth your time to watch.
Though this documentary isn’t out yet, we were inspired by Taryn Brumfitt’s story and her now infamous non-traditional “before and after” photo. In it, the before image is Taryn during a fitness competition, the very picture of a “perfect body,” but unhappy with how she looked. The after photo is her today, less “fit” but much happier.
It’s a happy ending for all involved in the controversial story of the week. After Brooke Birmingham’s swimsuit photo was mistakenly declined for publication by a freelance writer at Shape Magazine, she turned to her blog, BrookeNotOnADiet.com, to tell the tale.
During the past several days, her story fanned the flames of an on-going and necessary conversation in this country about body image and self love. This morning, we were glad to learn that she and the editors at Shape Magazine were able to connect, clarify the confusion, and get Brooke the photo shoot she and her 170-pound weight loss story so deserve!
“My intention was to start a conversation, but I had no idea it would come to this,” Brooke told Savannah Guthrie. “[The picture was] important to me because that is my body and I felt like I needed to put it out there to show people what a real weight loss looks like.”
It used to be that eating disorders were just about being thinner than everyone else. But that’s no longer the case. Now you have to be stronger, fitter, and healthier than everyone else too. Since this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 24-March 1) it seems like the perfect time to talk about the new ways disordered eating is surfacing.
Though not an officially recognized eating disorder, there is a growing trend in orthorexia or an obsession with health. Many people, especially teenagers, associate health with the number on the scale or how they look in the mirror. Both of those can be good baseline for determining health, but there’s a lot more to it than how big your thighs are.
There have been a number of sea changes in modeling, advertisements, and the way women and models are depicted in the media lately. Fashion shows have started to ban models with Body Mass Indexes that are under 18. Retailers like J. Crew are using regular people in photo shoots instead of models and even some stores that employ models have committed to no longer dramatically retouch photos. Even magazines are taking the pledge to stop airbrushing models. But, surprisingly enough, it’s lingerie companies that are being the most bold in the shift in how they depict women’s bodies, going from unattainable to ordinary-and-awesome.
First up: Forever Yours Lingerie, a company based in Vancouver, CA. The company offers intimates for women of all sizes: bras start at a B cup size and go up through K. And, while the company has always featured a models representative of their broad demographic, they recently stepped up to show support for one plus size model they adore, Elly Mayday, who is undergoing treatment for a rare form of ovarian cancer.
There’s another video out there depicting the extremes to which Photoshop can be taken. This time, it’s the music video for artist Boggie’s song Nouveau Parfum, and it’s not promoting exactly as simple a message as it may seem.
During the music video, performed in French, everything about the subject, Boggie, is changed. Her eye color, hair color, amount of makeup, hairstyle have all been altered. You name it, it’s different.
The most poignant part of the video is right before the end when a newly edited Boggie shares a split screen with her own before image. The difference is staggering and frankly a little unsettling.
Her before image shows a pretty, natural-looking young woman. The after image is an idealized version of what someone thinks women should look like. Ultimately though, underneath the editing, she’s still the same.