One of the things I love about spending time on a beach in Hawaii is the bodies on display. All kinds of bodies. Smaller bodies. Larger bodies. Bodies that look like they came from a swimsuit catalog. Bodies with cellulite. Young bodies. Old bodies. Bodies, bodies, bodies! It’s a really good reality check about your own body…namely, the fact that, yes, you have one and not only did it manage to carry you to this glorious beach and allow you to have the pleasure of swimming or frolicking in warm salt water (which hopefully you don’t accidentally inhale when a wave crashes into you), but it’s carried you this far in life. Pretty amazing, really.
I kind of got that Hawaii feeling (minus the salt water and the ability to walk around outside in February in shorts and a tank top without getting hypothermia) when I watched Embrace. We all have bodies, and those bodies are not one-size-fits-all. Trying to force our bodies to conform to our culture’s thin ideal is an exercise in futility and frustration for many, and certainly not a recipe for health, despite what internet trolls may say.
A Different View
Embrace is a documentary by Australian photographer Taryn Brumfitt, who had the epiphany after getting into fitness model shape as an “antidote” to dissatisfaction with her changing body (after having three children), that she was unhappier than ever. She relaxed her punishing food and exercise routine to something that allowed for both health and a healthier relationship with food, then broke the internet when she posted an unorthodox “before and after” photo (left).
Taryn travels the globe in her documentary, spending time with many women from different walks of life, each of whom shares the experience of struggling with society’s expectations of what her body should look like. Some have managed to shrug off those shackles, other not quite yet. She also does a number of woman-on-the-street interviews, and to see women of all body shapes and sizes express their discontent—or even disgust—with their bodies is near to heartbreaking. So much time wasted on body hatred!
Embrace Body Positivity
Ultimately, Brumfitt’s message is uplifting and life- health- and body-affirming. Embrace is downloadable via iTunes, and I highly recommend it (I also recommend visiting a Hawaiian beach, but a movie download is far moe affordable). Here’s the trailer: