Monday, July 9, 2012

My Body... Finally.

Struggles with body image affect women of all shapes and sizes. Body consciousness is not just about weight and shape, but it includes skin color, skin tone, hair, eyes, etc. It is made up of all the things so many of us worry about and try to hide or perfect before we walk out the door (or decide which pictures of ourselves we’ll permit others to see).

I love to see women who are comfortable and confident in their skin despite being a different size or shape than what our society markets as the ideal. I love seeing a woman who doesn’t lose her confidence or her great smile just because she has a blemish.

I don’t think we see enough of real women’s bodies (shapes, sizes, blemishes) in a positive context. Even amongst friends, we often hide what we think are our imperfections. I think that if we were exposed to more of what is real and natural, we would all be more comfortable and confident with ourselves.



When I began dreaming about putting a project like this together, I asked Fernando Cuestas if he would be interested in partnering with me. I had worked with him in the past and found that he has an instinctive ability to make a woman feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera. He also has experience in the fashion world, so I thought it would be interesting to incorporate his background into a photo shoot with everyday women - but to leave the images unaltered.

The women who participated in this project are women in my life who I find beautiful and who I knew would want to speak out on this topic. I invited many more women than are seen here (of various ethnicities, ages, and sizes) but not all of the women were available to participate. There were a few women who declined because they didn’t feel comfortable with their bodies. I don’t blame them. Society has not made it easy for us to step out into the world just as we are.

My hope for this project is that it will play a part in advancing a much bigger movement that is helping women to accept and be kind to their bodies. I don’t want any woman to miss out on experiences because she is ashamed of her body – whether that means going to the beach in a bathing suit or smiling at someone she finds attractive.

If you are impacted by this video in any way, please join the conversation in the comments below or . If you want to make your own video, please do so and share it here. We need women of all races, ages, sizes, etc. to stand up!   (If you cannot see the video please click here.)

Did you hear me?

We need you. We need each other. The more women who risk being confident in front of the world just as they are helps everyone.

Thank you to each of the courageous woman who participated in this project with me.



Melissa King
www.myheartdances.com

Fernando Cuestas Photography
www.fernandocuestas.com

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Melissa King : Life Coach for Women * Dating / Relationships / Health
Specializing in helping women to honor their needs and values while developing practical solutions to life challenges.

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About Melissa:

Since 2002 I have been coaching women who are frustrated by common life challenges like dating, career direction, self-esteem, weight loss, and meeting health goals. Through private coaching, women's groups, workshops, and classes, I offer women tools to create strategies that allow them to move forward without compromising their personal values and needs.

My services are ideal for women who are interested in authenticity, improving self-esteem and self-respect, breaking unsuccessful dating/relationship patterns, and developing new habits that lead to better communication and improved intimacy with others.

16 comments:

  1. Great Video thank you for sharing.

    I find it inspiring when women that look just like me are comfortable engough to stand in front of a camera and talk about thier bodies.

    Thanks Again Melissa.

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  2. great job ladies!

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  3. Nice work. You are all VERY beautiful! I'm not sure that the real problem is not loving our bodies. I think it's more the value and worth that we put on our appearance that is really sad. After all, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, 'we are spiritual beings who have a body, not vice versa'. What would happen if women focused just as much attention on how they look on the inside(their heart)? I think we sometimes obsess about the "flaws" with our physical appearance so we don't have to deal with our mistakes, character issues and painful emotions/experiences. -Karen in FL

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  4. @Adult Toys Thank you for sharing your reaction. I feel the same way. The women who partnered with me in this project inspired me. And when I see women on the street or in my life (who do not have what society considers the ideal body) comfortable in their skin, it makes me feel like I can be comfortable in mine too...

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  5. @Karen in FL I agree with you. I do think that sometimes we obsess about outer flaws because they are easier to deal with than what we think are our inner perfections. I also think that we know beauty is what society values... and I think that's a huge contributer to why we spend so much time on it. And it is sad... because there are so many other things we could be experiencing or thinking about.

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  6. I thought this was really truthful and informative. As a man, there are a lot of things that were said that I honestly just haven't thought about. Obviously, men are portrayed differently in the media as well. Every time I see an Abercrombie model I just say to myself "really?.." because no one looks like that, lol. But it's different. I don't think men are expected to look like that in real life. I mean, even the "most gorgeous men" thing they release every year or whatever has men that are attractive but not to that super-physique standard.
    Women are always subject to the super-physique. It's lunacy. in my opinion, not only does it just not look good when you're that thin, it's probably not healthy. I don't want to be able to see your rib cage, haha. I know all the models in magazines are photoshopped but I sometimes forget that we hold women up to that standard (as a whole, not individually, of course.) Even those models likely feel as if they can't leave the house unless they look as close to "flawless" as possible. I can't imagine the burdens of an average woman. I can rant on the idea of flawless until dawn as well; these are the idiosyncrasies that make us special: curves, dimples, size variations, hair length and color, breasts, butts, hips, thighs... it truly goes on.

    I really enjoyed that, I really really did. Truthful is the best word to describe it. It was honest, direct, informative, and even uplifting.

    Tyce

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  7. How excellent your project is!

    Here's something that comes up for me that I know you'd appreciate...

    I have always been told I look young for my age - last time I was "carded" I was 40 - and appreciated such. As the years have passed I must say the "compliments" have been gettin' a bit less frequent as I move toward the completion of my 48th year.

    Oh well!

    It sorta kinda bothers me that even I care! I find my self tryin' to figure out why.

    However, when I proudly and gushingly express that I have become a Grand Mother, folks swoon over how I look. I now hear, "You're a Grand Mother!?", " No waaay!", "How old are you?", "How old are your Children?", " How old were you when you had your Children?", "You look amazing for a Grand Mother!"... and so on and so forth.

    I dig this, yet there is something simmering beneath the surface here for me. I like being paid compliments such as these yet I have many conflicting feelings about them. What exactly is a Grand Mother 'sposed to look like anyways? And once someone knows I'm a Grand Mama, now I look good!? Also, I find myself wanting to let people know I am in a "Grand Way" but why? 'Cause I am proud and or maybe I wanna keep hearing that I look good? Why do I want or need this? I don't know, it's all so crazy!

    Jeez Laweez, do Grand Pappi's go through this!? I know my Husband doesn't. He generally doesn't share that he is married for a lifetime, has Children and has become a Grand Father for the first time to a gorgeously funny looking, amazing, happy, healthy, juicy Baby Grand!

    Also, as of late, I have become hyper self conscious in regard to how my Husband perceives - as well as how I myself perceive - my body and how I look since a female Friend -who needed to stay with us while experiencing the challenges of a divorcve, is nearly 15 years my junior and btw is beautiful - lived with us for several weeks. This seems to have ushered in a full trottle awareness of my growing older!

    This aging process is a roller coaster ride I tell ya! I do love my body even though I can pick it apart... why is this sooo frickin' difficult to reconcile!?

    Side note: I do not like roller coasters 'cause I am "ascared-uh" them! I ride them so's I can face my fear of 'em. This btw does not make me like or want to ride roller coasters more. I simply desire to face the fear so as not to allow being afraid to control my actions. I see this as Courageous. And Courage is not being without fear but rather going forward in face of fear.

    No doubt, this is how I will navigate the years ahead... with Courage!

    I hate this!

    See... look whatchu started!

    Lol!

    Bravissima!

    Loretta

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    1. I can so see myself in what you are saying!! I am turning 39 this year with 4 children- my oldest being 18. I get it all the time, how young I look to have an 18 yr old or even 4 children.

      I see that I will probably miss hearing that, as you have said.

      Roller coaster riding -with a smile :-)

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  8. Love this video....I might have to share it with some of my clients =)

    Thank you!!!!

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  9. Any chance you could put subtitles on it? Otherwise, from what I did hear, it was great!

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  10. Self confidence, such as you talk about in here, self acceptance, truly is vital to success. Well said!

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  11. Beautiful! It's so inspiring to see more people jumping on the this subject and teaching all people to love themselves.

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  12. Wow! Truly amazing! Congrats!

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  13. I like this video. I work really hard to have better skin and less frizzy hair and do the right routine before I go to bed for these things. But what happens is my poor fiancee is in the bed room getting tired and waiting for me. That's sad! I should just get happy that I have a body that can get up and bike to work and back and run and climb and do all that I do. Maybe all that money and fretting about my complexion isn't worth it.

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  14. Love this so much. I have a women's movement studio and I think a project like this is in our future, so thank you for the inspiration. I'll be sharing this on my blog this week. It must be seen! There have been other forms of this idea out there, but your take on it is my favorite so far. :)

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  15. What an interesting project! I think it's really brave of these Women to open up and talk about these issues. I still struggle with it. Great job ladies!

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