A New Jersey-based photographer captured a series that enables women to confront critical comments they’ve heard about their bodies and overcome them in empowering self-portraits.
It might come as a surprise, but approximately 75% of women in the United States have some form of disordered relationship with their bodies and, in effect, food. Either women feel too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny or they’ve been shamed by mainstream media to feel that no matter what they do to ‘improve’ their bodies, they’ll always be inferior to the airbrushed models that grace the covers of popular magazines.
Of course, men are victims of body shaming, as well, as a video by BuzzFeed recently addressed, but women are far more likely to have their physical appearance commented on by strangers with superiority complexes.
What few take into consideration when they make statements such as “you’d be prettier if you lost weight” and “having a baby will ruin your sexiness” is that ungrounded opinions often become engrained in people’s psyches. This can wreak havoc on a person’s self-confidence and their feeling of worthiness.
Because everyone truly is beautiful in their own way and no one deserves to feel shamed about their bodily appearance or mental acuity, New Jersey-based photographer Jess Fielder shot a photo series that enables women to confront critical comments they’ve heard about their bodies and strive to overcome them in empowering self-portraits.
The activist wrote on Facebook:
“These women were willing to bare not just their bodies but a little bit of their hearts for this project. I asked them to write down something another person has said to them in their lives about their bodies that impacted their self-confidence negatively. Then I had them write down something they know to be true of themselves that has nothing to do with physicality. I loved the moment of seeing their faces and demeanors change when they held up the second card. They are all beautiful. period. I hope that for at least those couple hours, they knew it to be true.”
The quote by Erin McKean, which Fielder included in her post, does an excellent job of summarizing the purpose of the project:
“You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother. You don’t owe it to your children. You don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked female.”
If you have ever felt that your self-worth is based on your physical appearance alone, take heart knowing that nothing could be further from the truth and that you are worthy and magnificent exactly as you are.
The women in the photographs below aim to validate this fact. They boldly hold up statements others have made about their physical appearance and affirm their worth by combating the opinionated statements with facts about their characters.
“I Am Positive”
“I Am Confident”
“I Am Natural”
“I Am Unique”
“I Am Compassionate”
“I Am Still Here”
“I Am A Gramma”
“I Am A Caregiver”
“I Am Strong”
“I Am Beautiful Inside And Out”
Remember, you are beautiful!
People’s worth is based on so much more than their physical appearance. If you agree, please share this powerful series and comment your thoughts below!
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