by Lauryn Robinson

In the past few weeks, our class has talked about body positivity and the overall worth of women beyond their physical features. This semester our class had discussed many things, including the performance of women to play into different roles within society. The movie, Real Women Have Curves, and the documentary, Miss Representation boldly addresses the need for loving oneself and ending body shaming.

Real Women Have Curves focuses on a Mexican American young woman named Ana, who dares to break out of the “expectations” set by generations of family traditions and societal conceptions, to find herself. In the film, Ana battles with self-love, self-appreciation, self-dignity and trust in her own abilities. Through Ana’s battle, she eventually grows to appreciate herself, flaws and all, and ultimately becomes a body positivity icon, and a figure of hope for higher education, among her local community and family.

Miss Representation is a documentary that dives into how the media portrays women. Additionally, the documentary talks about the many ways in which a woman’s worth is undermined- regardless of the field (media, politics and higher education.) Miss Representation, like Real Women Have Curves, addresses the many “hats” society put on women, and how they negatively represent our worth entirely. The difference is that Miss Representation does this analysis through statistics and interviews.

While the format of these resources are different as Miss Representation is a documentary and Real Women Have Curves is based on a fictional plot, their body positivity messages are both impactful and they encouraged me to find ways to promote body positivity in my community.

I stumbled upon a website, This is Beauty, and I was so happy to read their “fundamental” message upon entering the site. This website teaches that “beauty is not a single image, but the active embodiment and celebration of the self.” The site features personal poems, passages and photos of people, as they openly talk about what beauty, and their individual beauty, is to them. Posting on the site is open to all people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. The site is run by a non-profit group, The Body Positive and they supply followers with many methods to spread the message of body positivity. The Body Positive has created a How-To-Guide for starting a Body Positive book club within your community, they will also travel to your community, or school, to teach about supporting one’s community and how to protect one another from body and beauty shaming. My favorite opportunity that they provide is their Leadership training. This non-profit hosts body positivity training in California and they provide Leadership seminars for students hoping to bring body positivity to their campuses nationwide. The seminar is open to high school/college faculty and students. This seems like an amazing opportunity and becoming a Body Positive leader/professional would greatly benefit the participating individual on a personal and professional level.