Today I came across two thought provoking articles exploring and discussing the much-debated topic of body shaming – which I am sure most of you are more than familiar with, including myself (raises hand). The one article featured in Women’s Health Magazine entitled These 5 Women Refuse to Let Their Physical ‘Flaws’ Define Them looks at the issue of body-shaming from the lived experiences of women who have contributed at one point in their life to self-objectification and devaluation of their own bodies, and the other article featured on Bustle.com, 8 Things Body Positive People Are Sick of Hearing Because It’s Not About “Forcing People to Be Attracted to You” attempts to dismantle the notion that women who choose to identify as being body-positive are somehow forcing society into accepting shapely, curvier women as the new ‘standard’ of beauty.
Both articles, in my opinion, have done an excellent job confronting and illuminating the intersecting issues of how society, on one hand, tends to judge a woman’s appearance based upon an antiquated, traditional, European standard which has eroded and contributed to the continued devaluation of those women in society who do not neatly fit into the wider societal standard of beauty which encompasses, for the most part, a woman’s weight and physical traits; whereas women are now collectively challenging and amplify our voices against the issue of body-shaming; thus, creating our own narratives of what beauty ought to look like from a subjective point of view that encourages all women to embrace their – authentic beauty, physical or otherwise. As such, the views of the women featured in the two articles and I assume of most women who do not neatly fit into the traditional standard of beauty, including myself and who have participated in or have experienced some form of body shaming are now fearlessly embracing and speaking truth to their lived of experience from an informed and empowered lens, rather than a disempowered one.
“Most women—82 percent, per our survey—already admit that the way they view themselves may not match how others see them… In the end, recognizing that your body—or any of its parts—doesn’t define who you are is key to body positivity.” Women’s Health Magazine – January 2016
“Helping people to not hate their bodies isn’t “glamorizing” being unhealthy… body positivity isn’t just for medically healthy or “pretty” bodies: It’s for all bodies.” Bustle.com – July 2015
As an image professional and empowerment life coach I’ve questioned whether or not weight and body shape takes precedence over other body shaming issues, such as Vitiligo, Psoriasis, Alopecia, thinning hair, and Multiple Sclerosis as discussed in the Women’s Health article? More importantly, how do I help my client’s to confidently accept their authentic selves regardless of one’s weight, body shape or other body traits in which they deem as being imperfect or unattractive; thus, influencing how they view themselves personally and professionally? Disclaimer: I am not nor do I purport to be a medical psychologist, therapist or psychoanalysis, but I do believe as an image consultant that I do play an important role in helping my clients to unabashedly and authentically accept their whole-body with confidence, boldness and reverence for their well-being. A good image professional should be able to help their clients identify specific areas of their body in which they may be feeling less than confident about and also be able to coach and support their client in understanding how to strategically dress and style their body shapes and positively enhance their unique features; thus, enabling them to create their own signature style, one that empowers the client to accept and feel comfortable in their own skin. One such service that I offer as an image professional is Body Shape Analysis.
In part II of this article I will explain what Body Shape analysis is and how you can identify your unique body shape, as well as specific styling tips you can implement immediately.
If you are interested in booking an image and style discovery session with me I invite you to fill out the application. (Click Here)
Melissa .T. Jarred is a certified Toronto Image Consultant and Personal Stylist who works with women expeiencing life transitions who feel deep within their soul that it is time to not only up-level and overhaul their entire life, but to also revamp their image and personal style to authentically align and reflect with the new changes that are emerging in your life.