The Women’s Network and Bristol Body Positivity Society are joining forces to Reclaim our Bodies! Our photo series showcases some of the beautiful people of Bristol who do not feel their bodies are represented by mainstream ‘beauty’ ideals. Our series demonstrates that there is no such thing as the ‘ideal’ body, and it is each participant’s uniqueness that makes the series so beautifully interesting. The more differences we have, the more we can learn from one another – and it is only by engaging with those who seem different from ourselves that we can truly unite and Reclaim our Bodies.
We refuse to be divided based on the way we look, where we’re from, or how we identify. None of us are ever asking for harassment for our bodies – sexual or otherwise – and when we all shout this together, our voices are too loud to be ignored.
Mahum: “The women I saw as icons of beauty growing up were the likes of Hilary Duff and Christina Aguilera, and I couldn’t help feeling like I didn’t fit into the concepts of beauty I saw around me. It wasn’t until I was a lot older that I felt truly comfortable in my skin, culture and heritage. I also often still get comments about how young I look (around 14 apparently) or get told that I look unhealthy and ‘too thin.’ I’ve learned to embrace my difference and to focus on what I do have instead of what I lack. I might be vertically challenged, but I love my boobs!”
Nura: “It doesn’t matter if I’m insecure about my big jiggly thighs (I am) or that gross men feel the need to tell me they’re sexy: it’s no ones fuckin’ business what my legs look like, nor is it even remotely important to who I am as a person. More than that, it’s not gonna stop me wearing skirts and shorts without tights to “slim” me – because frankly, my bare legs look good.”
Melusha: “The hardest thing I’ve heard someone say to me was that ‘no one would ever marry me.’ It took me a long time to realise that my desirability doesn’t determine my self worth. I am not the way you see me. I am the way I see myself. Smart, hilarious and one of these days, beautiful.”
Beth: “I often get asked if I’m Spanish or Greek, especially when surrounded by the tall blondes that are my friends, and when I insist I’m English (and Jewish) this is usually met with surprise. Apart from the unwanted attention sometimes attracted by classic Jewish traits (the 5ft, big boobs scenario that I embody quite literally), I enjoy and feel empowered by these differences (apart from when lifted by drunk, entitled strangers). I strongly believe it is vital for us to embrace our own uniqueness.”
Yewande: “All I see are thin white bodies daily and women like Serena Williams, who are beautiful in their own right, vilified and dehumanised just because of her body type and skin tone. I don’t usually like being photographed because of the way black women are scrutinised publicly and consistently the butt of a joke. I don’t feel comfortable in my body, but when I surround myself with loving friends and make sure I look after myself (a good night’s sleep is key), I’m always able to rationalise and realise I am so much more than my outward appearance.”
To find out more about the events taking place as part of Reclaim, click here.