Last week a woman came up to me and told me that she wanted to purchase a bathing suit for the first time in twenty somewhat years. She explained that, although she'd always loved the water, her body and self esteem had prevented her from enjoying herself to the fullest.
I smiled at her with a questionable grin and I'd asked her why - after all these years - she'd finally decided to enjoy something she'd loved so fondly. Her answer was simple, and I believe it's very important that I share it with you all.
She said, "because I will be sixty this year, and I'm tired of hiding."
We all learn to accept our bodies at different points in our lives, some of us having the challenge of accepting it over and over again. We struggle with appearance for many different reasons but each reason, much like a tree, stems from one seed. That seed, as most of us know, is society's standards. Standards that, over time, have conditioned us to believe we need to dress, act, and weigh a certain amount in order to be accepted into the grasps of what people see as beautiful.
It is people like this woman who remind me why it's important to talk about body shaming. Be it about your weight, your wardrobe, or your hairstyle, society has constrained us to believe we're not of value to our confidence.
Christine Gionet - founder and owner of Renegade Clothing - has been a close friend of mine for sometime and at the beginning of this year she told me about a comment she received over an image of herself in a croptop. Though she looked absolutely beautiful and confident in this image, another plus size woman put it upon herself to state that Christine had no business in such an attire.
We sat there for a while talking about body identity and how it was hard to see another plus size woman putting shame on someone, when she herself knew how hard it was to be confident in the media spun world we live in. We discussed ways we could embrace our curves, our bellies, our thighs, our arms, and our minds without fearing our own self esteem; but instead loving ourselves and showing the world that we didn't care. This is when Christine and I came up with the Renegade Rebellion.
The Renegade Rebellion is a revolutionary mission that aims to help people of all different shapes and sizes see themselves in a whole new light. A light that shines confidence, happiness, beauty, and soul. It's a safe haven for everyone alike who has ever felt like they don't deserve to be confident. People who truly believe that there is something wrong with them.
Your body is a vessel that carries you across this crazy life and regardless what it looks like, it deserves your love. Every morning when you wake up, your body moves you. Your body works tiredly to make sure you get through the day. Is it really okay to hate something so precious to your outcome of life just because a magazine tells you it's shaped "wrong"?
Our flaws are not a setback. They are a champions honour. It's time for our minds to love our bodies as much as our bodies love our minds. It's time for us to stand up to society and the people who make us feel like we have no worth. It's time to espouse our bodies for every curve, every scar, every bump, and every flab. It's time for a Rebellion.
This is our mantra:
We reject society’s unrealistic expectations and take a stand in the name of size acceptance. We resist the notion that our value is any less because of our shape and size. We rebel in the name of love, acceptance, freedom, and empowerment of all bodies. We are the #renegaderebellion.
Want to be part of the movement? Send us your photos and statements (firstname.lastname@example.org) or share them using the hashtag #renegaderebellion!
These women have already joined the Renegade Rebellion: