We live in a time where body image is everything. From music videos to television and YouTube, from movies to commercials, women’s bodies are always on display for the world to see and more unfortunately, for the world to judge. “Body shaming” is a relatively new term, but not a new concept. We shame each other, and society as a whole shames us for our bodies. How to fight back against body shaming, and how to teach our daughters to love themselves the way they are? How to combat the overwhelming media presence in our lives? How? This is where Embrace steps in and helps those who see it and talk about it take the next step forward in loving ourselves in the skin we are in.
Embrace is the passion project of Taryn Brumfitt, an Australian woman who dealt with a poor self image after the births of her children. She found herself in a body she didn’t recognize after loving being pregnant, and lamented her loose skin, stretch marks, and rounded features. She tells the story of how she got back in phenomenal shape, even taking part in a body building contest post-pregnancy, and then gaining the weight back – only this time with a new perspective. She loved her body with its curves and softness, and wanted to show the world that she was happy in her own skin. So she simply took a picture of herself, wearing only a smile, and Photoshopped it next to a picture of her at the body building contest. After posting it on Facebook, the story really begins.
Taryn was overwhelmed by the response to her picture, and after hundreds of thousands of comments, decided she would travel around the world to meet some of the women who contacted her about her picture. She meets wonderful women along the way, documenting the conversations with them about their body image and the misinformation that the media perpetrates on women in publications. Every story is fascinating, and Taryn approaches these women with love and a passionate urge to listen to their stories. If you do take your daughters, know that there is a great deal of non-sexualized nudity, used to show such scenes as when Taryn goes to a plastic surgeon for a consult, with hilarious results. The girls that accompanied us were tweens, and were a little put off by the nudity, proclaiming the film had “a lot of boobs,” but the nudity is not sexual in nature.
As for me, a 39 year old woman, the film hit me very hard. Although it is absolutely a celebration of women of all shapes and sizes, all colors and creeds, both cis-gender and transgender, and is full of joy and laughter, it left me feeling quite dark inside. Not because it was a bad film or gave the wrong message, far from it. It showed me exactly how far I have to go to become comfortable in MY own skin, and it gave me a lot to think about after the immediate sadness regarding my own body image had passed. It is because, not in spite of these feelings that I encourage women to see this film, because the introspection you could feel, as I did, may be the most important part of the film’s purpose.
Embrace is available on Amazon Video.