Body Image Experiment Australia (Written by Cass Cormack)

“That day I felt two emotions – both shaking with fear and unconditional love. Love from the crowd, love from the people. “Are you cold?” people were asking me. “No, I’m just scared” said Amandine whilst blindfolded in public.

I had just seen our beautiful friend and Liberator, Jae West’s exposing video on body image, and it had brought me to tears. I watched as she stood in London in Piccadilly Circus, and stripped off to her underwear, blindfolded herself and held out markers to the public. At her feet stood a sign that read;

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I watched as she took that brave breathe in, and handed her trust over to the streets and to the people. To complete and utter surrender, all in the name of love.

I watched as the crowd came, one by one, then in groups. Young women and men, with difficulties of their own; families, whose children wanted to understand why; and older generations; excited by ours.

I watched and I thought… Perth needs this. And in that moment the decision was made. I began the search for women who wanted to be a part of this experiment. And I found them. All with their own story to tell. Stories they had written into the very fabric of who they were, and how they saw themselves. Stories etched into the contours of their body, the scars, the marks, each a moment in their history. And with the desire to strip it all away, shed the fear, came the melting and moulding together of excitement and nervousness in the prospect of what we were going to recreate.

And so, on that cool, shaded Sunday we walked, signs in hand, into the streets of Perth City, to recreate the experiment. Our hearts were leaping and swinging, somersaulting and backflipping, and at the same time; completely still for what we were about to do.

Why Stand?

With all the photo-shop and images of perfection we are bombarded with, we get used to feeling like we are not good enough. Critiquing our curves, blemishes and lines and feeling like we are not living up to a standard.

This is what we want people to start questioning, this idea that they are not enough. That they have to buy products to make themselves beautiful, when each and every one of us is beautiful just as we are.

Aimee’s Personal Story

I was in a domestically violent relationship, and for many years afterward, my self-worth was below ground level. I didn’t believe I was worthy of love. So although this is a small act of courage to promote self-love and acceptance, for many it is a massive leap into the depths of the unknown, part of the healing journey from our own stories. I walked away from the experience feeling totally empowered, like I could conquer the world.

Sunny’s Personal Story

I have struggled with negative belief and body shame since puberty, a perception that I realise has very little relation to my actual shape. I have starved myself, binged, become obsessed with the perfect diet, and had overwhelming anxiety around food. As a quest for self-acceptance I felt that it was something I needed to do. Not only for myself but also for my own teenage daughter, and to send out support to anyone who has struggled with body image.

As I removed my clothes I felt a mixture of excitement, fear, anticipation and vulnerability. I feel like it was this vulnerability that people connected with and identified with. At some point or another I think we have all felt this way. I decided to embrace this feeling, switch on my heart, let go of my fears and have faith in humanity. Throughout the experiment I felt a mixture of emotions flowing through me. I felt a contrasting feeling of my inner strength but also my vulnerability. Without my vision, my senses and instincts were heightened. I was touched by the emotions of people around us as they thanked us and shared a little of their stories. At times I was moved to tears. At times I felt grounded like a warrior woman and others like a small child. But always proud and with complete trust that I was exactly where I needed to be at that moment. I could not believe how supportive and loving people were and I felt like to those people we made a difference that day. I felt humbled but at the same moment like I could shift mountains.

My love goes out to every woman, man or child who has ever felt ashamed or self-conscious about their bodies. I am grateful for the beauty and courage of every person who stepped forward that day.

Each and every one of us is enough.

Beauty is within.

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