One South Australian woman’s amazing debut film, 'Embrace', is making the world step off the scales and listen.
Recently, I wrote a piece on self-love. A small reflection on the Dove statistics showing self-confidence in Australian women is at an all-time-low. It made me reflect on whether I love myself, and how I am teaching my daughter to love herself too. I thought I was onto something.
I envisaged I had a few answers.
Then I received a link to a documentary by an Australian woman, Taryn Brumfitt, and the personal quest I had been undertaking to instill confidence in myself and my daughter was shaken. The body shaming Goliath loomed far larger than my David, so I reached out to Taryn about her story.
‘Embrace,' Taryn's debut film, is the eye-opening, gut-wrenching, tear-jerking result of four years work for this Australian woman who, after having three children, hated her body.
Here's the trailer -
"I’d often stare at myself in the mirror saying, 'You’re fat. You are ugly. You are disgusting'. I hated my body so much; I was even booked in for surgery to finally get rid of my 'teabag boobs' and 'hotdog roll of a tummy',” says Taryn.
Nothing too unusual about that, you may think. 'Saggy this' and 'jiggly that' is the bugbear of many newly-minted mums. And Taryn did what she perceived was expected of her. She trained towards the 'perfect' media-approved body shape and competed in body building championships.
However, she soon found out that the secret to her self-love wasn't hiding within in a smaller dress size.
Although Taryn reached the ‘ideal' body on the surface, inside, she was deeply unhappy. Her quest to fit the media-portrayed idea of perfection had left her realizing that the problem was not her body at all, but how she felt about it psychologically. She decided to take a different tact and ironically, it was the media that took her pain to a far greater global platform.
Learning To Embrace
A ‘Before' and ‘After' photo Brumfitt posted on Facebook went viral across many media outlets around the world, gaining coverage in many countries and garnering the support of celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Rosie O'Donnell. The images were seen by millions and Taryn received thousands of heart-wrenching emails of other bodyshaming stories. “The responsibility to do something was enormous,” she recalls.
‘Embrace' documents Taryn’s mission to end the war women have with their bodies. All over the world. It's sometimes heartwarming and other times desperately sad, but today, Taryn believes it is serving its purpose. “We are going to create change and end this body shame,” she says, “and open more body diversity and teach our children to be inclusive and not exclusive.”
Today, Taryn says – with a sense of joy in her voice – admits that “I am so in love with my body and have such a deep respect for all that it does. I couldn’t love it more. I’m a normal everyday person, and I hope that is inspiring for women to flick the switch so that they can have access to this rich and abundant life too.”
As much as Embrace is one woman’s journey, it's a story for every woman, and man as well Taryn concludes. “My call to action is for all women to see this film, and then watch it with a man. Either their brother, husband – and all fathers – must see this,” she says. “We stand side by side. Men feel our pain. They are the ones who witness the war we wage on ourselves, so while it’s a film about women and women’s bodies, men are relevant to this conversation.”
So, for the sake of all women, men - and our children - we can only hope Embrace becomes a blockbuster and a game-changer.
Taryn’s Tips for Talking To Your Daughters
The communication inside the household is incredibly important Taryn points out. “I can't control what happens on the outside, but I can set my children up to have a foundation system where they value what they contribute and not how they look. If they have a strong foundation of what is important, it will be harder for marketers to make them feel bad abuot themselves.”
If your daughter asks “Mummy am I pretty in this dress” or something along the lines of validation by looks, Taryn suggests you reply with something like “I want to know what amazing things you are going to do in that dress!”. Subtle tweaks in language can be powerful, she insists.
Inside the home, ban the good/bad food conversation, remove scales and any diet talk and teach your children that eating well to nourish their bodies and being active is the best thing to do because it feels amazing, “not because your calorie counting and dieting,” she cautions. “Make it a positive conversation.”
You can catch the Embrace documentary on Lifestyle YOU on Monday, May 1.
In the meantime, find out more and join the Body Image Movement today at bodyimagemovement.com.au.