By Dori Hackleman
My notifications go off for my business page and I have a message from a client:
Client: “Hi! A friend of mine recommended you to do boudoir photos and I have looked at your work and think it is beautiful! I would like to do a shoot with you but I am very nervous and not super confident about my body.”
That last line always makes me sad. I have used that line before, and I know the place where it comes from. It comes from a place of uncertainty and doubt. “I am not good enough because I don’t look a certain way.” Clients have also said, “Well I am definitely not one of your models, but I am going to give it a shot.” My models also struggle with body image, probably more than anyone else I have ever had in front of my camera! The difference is that they stopped standing in their own way and let me show them what I see when I look at them. They like what I see and that makes them feel better!
Body positivity is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body.
I used to hate looking at myself in the mirror and stepping on the scale because I was afraid it would trigger my depression, and I am person who eats their feelings. It was an endless loop. I would feel pretty good about myself, get on the scale, see I’d gained weight, look at myself and think, “Jeez, you’re a fat ass, no wonder you feel worthless.” Then I’d go and find something to eat to comfort myself and make myself feel better, but ultimately ended up feeling even worse about myself because I was triggering the depression cycle again. I needed to stop thinking so negatively about myself because it wasn’t doing anything for me, and I would look to other women to help. As a professional photographer, I found boudoir first, which involved seeing the more delicate side of women, and later I got into CrossFit where most of the women are the epitome of strength and confidence! In both arenas, the women were not a certain size but all different sizes. They are incredibly strong, and you can tell when you see them workout.
According to A Short History of Body Positivity by Lux Alptraum:
“Body positive activists recognize that size is just one of the many ways that our bodies are judged by others and are also working with racial justice, trans and queer inclusive, and disability movements. The goal of the movement is to address unrealistic beauty standards and to build the confidence of oneself and others.”
I originally started shooting boudoir because it was a challenge and it was a lot of fun. But the artistic side of it quickly grew into a passion to show women of all shapes and sizes that they are beautiful inside and out. Boudoir is amazing to do for women because you start to see the different layers of a woman shed until she is shining so bright with confidence and she is really feeling herself. It’s an absolutely amazing thing to see. These women who claimed to be so shy, awkward, and with low self-esteem morphed into these amazing, confident women who could conquer the world after leaving their session. That was worth so much more than the pictures themselves. Boudoir is a celebration of YOU and you should want to do a session for yourself first and foremost!
“The [body positivity] movement sets forth the notion that beauty is a construct of society and poses that this construct should not infringe upon one’s ability to feel confidence or self-worth.” — 15 Definitions of Body Positivity Straight From Influencers & Activists, Alysse Dalessandro
“The idea surrounding the body positivity movement is centered around the notion that people need to love themselves to the fullest while accepting their physical traits.” — The Commodification of the Body Positive Movement on Instagram, Jessica Cwynar-Horta
Society has placed an image in our heads of what the picture perfect body is, but the truth is beauty isn’t one-size-fits-all! It’s all sizes fit everyone and we are more complex than our body size and we have so much more to offer the world. WE ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER ON A SCALE OR THE SIZE OF OUR PANTS!!! You are allowed to feel yourself, you are allowed to think you are beautiful, and you are allowed to wear what you want, when you want, and for no one else but your damn self! So get out there and start feeling yourself, because you deserve it!