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March 14, 2014

Recently I read this article by Lauren Fleshman (aka Fleshman Flyer). It was a follow-up to an earlier blog post where she talks about how the images we see in the media are not reality and shares some photos to show us just how much lighting, posture, angles, and re-touching can change what we see.  These articles have really hit on a topic that I think is an issue in our society. We  have accepted what the media has chosen to show us. We  have become so used to seeing these images and we compare ourselves to the impossible. What we see on the new stand… on the screen.. is imaginary. No one looks like that! We have seen the examples of how photo editing software is used to lengthen, lift, trim, clear away imperfections. Lauren’s post is the first time I’ve seen media embrace reality and show what women really look like. Real. Athletic. Kick-ass women.

I have battled my own body image demons over the years and finally have come to realize that my body is amazing! Reading Lauren’s article, I realized that even with my appreciation and acceptance of my body, I do the same thing that we are all guilty of – scroll through images and delete the ones that are not cover model ready. So, in following Lauren’s example… I enlisted the help of my husband and a friend to take some pictures of me specifically with the purpose of capturing those ‘unflattering’ moments that we usually scroll past quickly or edit away.
I thought that perhaps my self-exposure can help other women and young girls start to see the images in the media and themselves differently. What I discovered through this process was even more powerful. As I scrolled through the pictures, I found myself saying things like this:
“No, that one’s too good.”
“I look too good in that one.”
“I can’t see the cheese dimples, let’s try another one.”

In trying to find flaws and imperfections, I was looking the pictures of myself without the usual criticism and judgement. I quickly realized that what I thought I saw (or expected to see) was not really there. I would catch a glimpse of my squishy belly or my dimpled thigh and direct my friend to take a picture. When I looked back at the pictures… I looked strong, athletic, lean. Not at all the image I saw in the mirror. My brain was playing tricks on me because of my learned judgment. Not only did I see something different than what someone else would see, I was seeing something different than the camera. I encourage all women to try this. Look through your photos, trying to find the worst one. When you start to see the images differently, you will begin to recognize the beauty in yourself.

With that…
This is what a healthy, kick-ass, athletic woman looks like. In real life and un-retouched. When we bend, there should be a crease or two, or ten. When we exercise, our bodies and skin skin will move with us. This is normal. Let’s stop judging our bodies on what we see in the magazines and start appreciating what we can do with our amazing machines.
I am woman. I am hot. I am strong. I am a bad-ass.
Be careful men, if this movement catches on… We just may take over the world. #keepingitreal

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2014 11:42 am

    Reblogged this on See Becca Try to Tri.

  2. dameashley permalink
    March 14, 2014 11:43 am

    You look amazing Jen!! It was so nice meeting you at VK team camp!! Ives that article too….such an important topic. I have had (and still have) my struggles. It is so refreshing to have others admit their battles; makes us feel connected and supported! Thanks for sharing

  3. March 15, 2014 5:38 pm

    Work it girl…so true lighting etc is misleading.

  4. Kendell C. permalink
    March 18, 2014 7:11 pm

    Thank you, Coach. This was a great read!

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