The Wednesday Five: The Body Positive Issue



The Body Positive Movement

“Society has been telling women to be beautiful — as if that is the most important thing they can be,” says Taryn Brumfitt in her new documentary, Embrace, which aims to unpack what is behind this staggering statistic:

Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. In fact, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.

The film, opening this month in the United States, explores the issue of body image, globally. Embrace is told from the point of view of Taryn Brumfitt, an Australian mother who posted on the internet in 2013 an unconventional before-and-after image of what her body looked like after having her children. That single image sparked an international media frenzy. In Embrace, Brumfitt talks to experts, women in the street and well-known personalities about the alarming rates of body image issues that are seen in people of all body types, explores the factors contributing to this problem and seeks to find solutions.

Embrace had its world premiere at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival, where it made it into the festival directors’ top 5 picks and was nominated for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Best Documentary.



How a Body Painter Boldly Address Damaging Labels Towards Women

Using body paint, Jordan Hanz, a body painter, visually illustrates how society’s damaging labels — BITCH, PRUDE, SLUT, DAMAGED, affect women.  In “Unattainable Woman,” Hanz inscribes words, like the above, onto her body while  narrating stories about these messages are coded in our everyday. What she hopes is that this body art allows for a conversation to encourage women to break free from these labels and stereotypes.



From the Women’s Voices Archives: ‘Dietland’: A Call to Arms Against Body Shaming


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A debut novel from Sarai Walker, Dietland, did something that I am sorry to say happens less than it should: it changed my mind. Not only did it really get a message across about an important subject, it managed to do this in the context of a highly entertaining mystery plot. Remarkably, as the author does this, she also involves you in the emotional life of her unlikely heroine, and you start to understand what it means to deal with the issues of dieting and weight control from a point of view of great suffering.

When we first meet the protagonist, Plum Kettle, she has a grim life. Weighing about 300 pounds, she dresses in all black to camouflage herself as she shuttles between her Brooklyn apartment and a nearby cafe where she ghostwrites answers to questions sent to a teen magazine help columnist named Kitty. After a lifetime of useless dieting, she is eagerly awaiting surgery to have her stomach stapled to the size of a walnut. In anticipation of the procedure and her new life as a “thin person,” whom she refers to as “Alicia,” which is her real name that she has never used, Plum has been buying colorful clothes in smaller sizes.

Read the full article here.

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