In this week’s Wednesday Five we share stories about women who are leading global  movements towards embracing positive body images of themselves and their community of women. We’ve just spent the last two weeks glued to the Olympic Games in Rio, riveted at how extraordinary the human body is. And still, we are in a time where we’re inundated with photoshopped ideals of what beauty should look like and what size, shape, and color it should come in. That’s why we find these women refreshing and groundbreaking — they are creating their own definitions of what is beautiful. 

  1. What Olympians Can Teach Us About Body Image.
  2. Gold-Medalist Michelle Carter Brings Body Positivity To The Olympics.
  3.  The New Documentary Embrace is Part of a Growing Body Positive Movement.
  4. How a Body Painter Boldly Address Damaging Labels Towards Women.
  5. From the Women’s Voices Archives: ‘Dietland,’ by Sarai Walker: A Call to Arms Against Body Shaming

 

1.

What Olympians Can Teach us About Body Image

440px-Kayla_Harrison_Rio_2016cKayla Harrison won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in Judo. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

In her article for Fusion, Taryn Hillin singles out eight women Olympians who offer up lessons in appreciating strength over perfection when it comes to our bodies. Hillin writes:

There are no thigh gaps in the Olympics.

If you want to sprint up and down a soccer field, you need thick, strong legs to carry you. If you want to box your way to gold, you need arms that can jab and cross round after round. If you want to throw your opponent in Judo, your core needs to be as solid as the ground you stand on.

There’s no doubt female Olympians have the bodies of champions, but these bodies—the product of blood, sweat, tears, and incredible talent and perseverance—don’t often conform to society’s standards of feminine beauty.

Click here to read about the following champion women: Kelley O’Hara, soccer; Kayla Harrison, judo; Claressa Shields, boxing; April Ross, beach volleyball; Adeline Gray, wrestling; Mattie Rogers, weightlifting; Brittany Griner, basketball; and Simone Biles, gymnastics.

 

2.

Gold-Medalist Michelle Carter Brings Body Positivity To The Olympics

bCARTER-Michelle2-biostripImage courtesy of usatf.org

Michelle Carter made Olympic history in Rio — she brought home the gold for the U.S. for the first time in women’s shot put. She also has a wonderful legacy — her father won Silver Medal in shot put in the 1984 Olympic Games. In addition to the gold medal, Carter was also making headlines for her body positive image. She’s known as the ‘Shot Diva.’ And here are some of the fabulous things this Shot Diva has to say about her body, on and off the field:

“For a couple of years, being professional, I kind of questioned myself. Should I wear my false lashes or take the time I want to take so I can feel good when I go out on the field? Because nobody else was really doing that. And I thought, No: I’m not going to change what I believe I should look like to fit anybody else’s standards. I believe if you look your best, you’re going to feel your best, you’re going to do your best.” [The New Yorker]

“You have to understand everyone’s body was built to do something. I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built. I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.” [GOOD]

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