Those who know me well know I rarely sit still long enough to watch a film. Trips to the cinema happen maybe once or twice a year, often because my brain is itching to do something, or my feet can’t sit still. I feel like I always need to be doing something and it’s why most films get watched at home. That way nobody grumbles at the sound of my knitting needles, or me tapping at a keyboard, or me getting up to go and make a cup of tea.
But there are some films that are important enough for me to put everything down. Yes, even my phone.
Embrace is one of those.
You may or may not remember these images from 2013.
This is Taryn Brumfitt. A mum from Australia who posted this before and after with a difference. From bikini body – obsessed with food and fitness, to happy with her body. It’s something I’ve similarly gone through – going from a size 26 to a size 12 and realising that being slim didn’t actually make me happy.
She posted these images on her personal Facebook page to express how she felt about her body and, it, well, it went a bit nuts. So much so that even I can remember sharing these images all over my own social media. The feedback was good and bad. There were those, like me, who loved the images. There were those who fat shamed her, who called her ugly, disgusting.
And there were those who emailed her for help. In their hundreds. Thousands.
Those out there who wanted to know how they could love their bodies. Those who hated the way they looked, who felt disgusting.
I think that’s the word that stuck with me throughout the film. Disgusting. I’ve been there, I’ve felt it. I still have bad days sometimes where I look at myself and think ‘Ugh’. But it’s thanks to women like Taryn, and this film, that I’m learning to love every little lump and bump, every sag, every stretch mark, every wobble.
Embrace is the result of Taryn’s hard work – work to find other women who feel the same way she does and those who don’t. To try and understand our obsession with striving for a perfection that doesn’t exist, that is perpetuated by the media, that is designed to make us feel like shit, so we’ll spend money to try and feel better, and when that doesn’t work, we feel even more shit, then we spend more money trying something else, which again doesn’t work long term, and the whole cycle keeps going around and around and around and the only winner is the diet industry who make millions off our misery.
It’s a film that had me in tears almost from the beginning. And I know I wasn’t alone. It stimulated the same thoughts across the entire room, which was apparent during the Q&A following.
How can we help?
So that’s why I’m writing this. Firstly, so I can shout about the film. Everyone needs to see this film. If you have kids, if you have body issues, ah fuck it. If you have a body. Please, go and see the film.
At the moment the way that you watch it is via Demand Film. There are some already on show across the country, but you can host a screening yourself. So you get together with your friends, ask your local cinema and follow the instructions. I’ve already started to bug my local WIs about it. And work. And well, anyone who’ll listen. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so strongly about a film or have ever felt so strongly about encouraging people to see it.
Nope, not even Star Wars. (Yes that much).
I’m also not just becoming a part of the Body Image Movement, I’m applying to become an ambassador. Because let’s face it if I’m going to get arsey and shout about something, it should be something that can benefit everyone. And when studies have already shown that body image issues can start at 3 years old, and that a positive body image can actually help with weight loss and health, and that we’re all miserable with our bodies, I’m going to shout it from the rooftops.
I’m tired of hating my body. I’m tired of wasting all my energy of feeling crap about myself.
Can you imagine what we could do if we stopped wasting that time, and energy and money? How much we could achieve? How if we focused less on what we look like, and more on what we do, how much good we could do in the world? We are so incredibly lucky to have this money, and energy, and power. And yet we waste it on being paranoid about whether our bum looks big.
Ever fancied changing the world a little bit? This might just be a good place to start.