Do you have stretch marks, scaring, have you had a breast removed, a procedure done, or just some new wobbly bits that have changed the way you feel about yourself? If so, I would love your help! I have just started my photography masters and my project is about body image. It is an exploration into body confidence and how we can be in charge of how we feel about ourselves.
I have wanted to explore this idea for a long time because of the changes in confidence that I see in women every day. So many women visit me at the studio, and over the space of a few weeks they have completely changed how they feel about themselves.
When these women visit me while they are pregnant and have come for a maternity shoot, they are bursting with confidence. They bare all with pride and they glow like a goddess. I have talked about this amazing confidence with my clients. The consensus seems to be, that being pregnant is a bit like a ‘get out of jail free’ card in the image rat race. While you are pregnant you are not expected to pull your tummy in, or fit into a certain size of jeans.
These same women though, when they come back with their newborn babies just a few weeks later, have completely changed. They no longer feel confident about themselves. Very often they won’t get in front of the camera at all. They are almost always unforgiving about their newly non-pregnant body. The body confidence has gone.
The beauty ideals that our society lay upon us, and the constant barrage of advertising are poison to us. The continual message since the invention of the corset has been that you must be stick thin to matter, and to be beautiful. For the crassest reminder of this ideal right now, think of the ugly naming and shaming by tacky magazines of post pregnant celebrities who dare to bare wobbly bits on a beach.
This ideal isn’t real though and it is a relief that we are slowly moving aways from this. Boohoo chose to leave stretch marks in their advertising campaigns and actors like Jameela Jamil are refusing to allow the media to airbrush and doctor their photographs.
Body Confidence is in Our Mind
Confidence is not a physical thing that can literally be lost in childbirth. Confidence is in the mind, in the way we choose to think about ourselves. Our brain is our most powerful tool and we can be in charge of it. We can choose each day whether we lift ourselves up and allow love and confidence to blossom, or whether we poison ourselves with the loathing and hatred that media projects.
When I think about myself and how unforgiving I’ve been of myself over the years, it’s not been constructive. Right now I’m probably the biggest I’ve ever been and yet I’m the most content with myself. What is important is a healthy body and a healthy mind, not your jean size.
I want to explore this idea through photography and positive self-affirmations and I’m not alone. In America there is an amazing project called 4th Trimester Bodies. This is run by two women, Ashlee Dean Wells and Laura Weetsie Wilson. They are touring their country recording women and their bodies and babies.
In Devon there is a beautiful photographer called Grace Elizabeth . She is empowering women by painting their stretch marks with gold and celebrating their scars.
Be Part of My Project
It is right to celebrate our battle scars. They are our badges of honour gathered along the road of our amazing lives.
Join me on my project to bare your scars and rekindle that love you found for yourself when you were pregnant. I know it will be very empowering! Give me a shout if you would like to take part. x