10 Strides Made Towards Positive Body Image in 2014

1. The Harvard Rugby Team’s, “Rugged Grace” Photo Series. 


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This group of young women produced a series of photographs, in which they stripped down to spandex and sports bras and on their bodies, wrote what they admired about each other.

Team member, Helen Clark claimed, “”The project was inspired by the amazing body positivity and acceptance that we saw on our team.  It’s so refreshing to see a group of women being proud of the strength they’ve achieved through hours of training, and to see them celebrating the physical manifestations of that strength.”


2. The “Stop The Beauty Madness” Campaign
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Robin Rice created a campaign with 25 thought-provoking advertisements that show pictures of women, following brutally honest commentary.  The commentary shows the brutally high standards women, at times, are held to, and the pressure women feel to be seen as “perfect.”  It hoped to make viewers rethink the stereotypical idea of “beauty.”

Robin Rice told journalists, “We look at beauty magazines and fashion photographs and whether we theoretically believe in them or not, we’ve seen so many of them and they’ve been put into exactly the right light and ratio that something inside of us has said ‘That’s beautiful’.  Whether or not we believe in it intellectually, something deeper has set in and we compare ourselves to that.


3. When Real Men Posed in Underwear Ads

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Although there are many misconceptions, men also suffer from negative body image.  A photo series by a campaign known as, The Sun shows the pressures that some men feel when comparing themselves to models or professional athletes.  This campaign took underwear ads, featuring unrealistic men, and placing them next to real men in the same underwear.


4. “If People Were Honest About Women’s’ Bodies.”

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Buzz Feed created a video to show how women truthfully look at themselves and their bodies.  It also demonstrates the cultural expectations of the way society thinks a woman should appear to be.

In one instance a girl stated, “Literally, everything that I don’t like about the way you look is a projection of what I don’t like about myself.”  A woman selling clothes in the video claimed, “I’m going to tell you that this covers up your flaws. You don’t really have any, but I work on commission, so I need you to buy this.”


5. When 10 Strangers Got Naked In Search of Body Acceptance

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In “Shine,” a video produced by The Goddess Project, ten women came together to discuss their body insecurities and how they are learning to accept their body and love it for the way it is.

One woman in the video says, “We have to stick together and empower each other to overcome all of the stereotypes placed against us. No matter what we’ve been conditioned to believe, it’s time to step up and recognize how beautiful we really are.”


6. Blogger, Gabi Fresh’s version of the Flawless Music Video

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Gabi Fresh, a plus-size blogger, teamed up with fellow bloggers, Nadia Aboulhosn and Tess Munster.  They remade a cover to Beyoncé’s song, flawless, to demonstrate that every body is beautiful no matter what size you are.

In the middle of the song it says, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.    We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much.  You should aim to be successful, but not too successful.  Otherwise, you will threaten the man.  Because I am female, I must aspire to marriage… We raise girls to see each other as competitors, for the attention of men.  We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings, in the way that boys are…”


7. The Documentary, “Fattitude.”

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Activist, Lindsey Averill, teamed up with filmmaker, Viridiana Lieberman, to make a documentary to show the discrimination people with larger bodies face due to prejudices, and helping viewers see that size is not an indicator of beauty. The trailer was launched in April 2014, and the full length movie will be out in 2015.

In the video, a woman states, “We have a really strong cultural belief system that ‘fat’ is bad.” Another woman says, “Cultural elites value what is rare and difficult to maintain. And times it was difficult to gain weight, ‘fat’ became the valued body of mind. In this time, when thinner bodies are difficult to maintain, they become more valuable.”


 8. The “Natural Beauty” Photo Showing

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In a series of real, beautiful women showing their underarm hair, photographer, Ben Hopper, challenges the idea that women have to be hairless in order to be beautiful.  He shows viewers that there is no such thing as “perfection,” and that every woman is beautiful, no matter how much hair they decide to bare on their body.

Ben Hopper told the Huffington post, “The whole point [of the series] is contrast between fashionable female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair. I expect [the photos] will surprise a lot of people and I guess, in a way, that is one of my intentions.”


9. Zoe Ley Combats Fitspiration Pictures.

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“Fitspiration,” may be in harmless fun, but at times it promotes unhealthy lifestyles, ways of thinking, and eating disorders.  “Weirdly Shaped,” blogger, Zoe Kohen Ley, made her own pictures to promote a happy, healthy lifestyle, while kicking out the idea of “fitspo,” hilariously.

Ley claimed that, “I had grown up with a figure I didn’t know how to handle; I developed early and was teased a lot about having large breasts.  I tried to hide in baggy clothing for a long time, but even after I started trying to be more positive about myself, I couldn’t figure out how to dress in a way that made me feel confident.”


10. CURVES Art Photography Book

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Photographer Victoria Janashvili’s teamed up with the fitness campaign, CURVES, to create a photography book to show that curvy bodies are beautiful too.  It is a book to show the confidence that all women can possess

Janashvili describes the inspiration for this edgy, bootilicious photography, “We like booty.  We like your booty. We like curves and boobs and hips and bodies.  We love bodies.  We love women’s bodies, whether they are skinny, full, flat, athletic, old, young, black, brown, white….but not everybody does… Because not everybody knows how beautiful bodies truly are! Even though the average American woman is a size 12, media still usually sets the standards of beauty at a smaller woman, making women, beautiful, healthy women—with curves, and boobs, and hips, and, yes, booties — feel an unjust pressure. So we are here now to celebrate the beauty of a healthy booty.”