If I asked you to describe your body, what’s the first thing you’d think of?
I’ve just been to the cinema to watch a documentary called ‘Embrace’ where people were asked that same question, and their responses were… fat; disgusting; not perfect; I need to lose weight. It was a bit shocking. People of all shapes and sizes all responded in the same way.
Then the film maker, Taryn Brumfitt, points out that almost everyone she asked made a negative comment about the way their body looked, but no-one comments on what their body allows them to do. Her statement is “This body of mine, it’s not an ornament, it’s a vehicle.”
It makes you think doesn’t it?
Our bodies are amazing. They are so clever, and they allow us to get to places, have life’s adventures and perhaps even create new life. How come we take all that for granted but criticise if they are not the ‘perfect shape’ to LOOK at?
Now I’m not a person who spends that much time thinking about what I look like. I’m really not that bothered most of the time. Let me give you an example…
I once met a friend of a friend who does cosmetic treatments. Within an hour of meeting her she had focused in on a frown line above my nose (not prompted by me) and told me, “I could easily remove that for you”. If she could have read my mind she would have heard two things: First my desire to twat her square in the face, and second a very sarcastic tone which said, “I’m about three stone over weight love, do you think a care about a little line on my forehead?”
But I just smiled and said, “Oh it doesn’t really bother me”. Now to be fair, she was a lovely lady and she was talking with a very positive intension – she meets women every day who obsess about they way they look and she has a way to make them feel better and more confident. What’s wrong with that?
But, let me be honest, even though I don’t care about that line on my face enough to want to remove it , tit’s still the first thing I notice every time I see a photo of my face. Let me be REALLY honest, even though I’m not bothered enough to diet, I still delete the pictures where I think I look like a total heffer, and share the ones where someone else is standing in front of me and taking focus away from my size.
It seems it’s part of our wiring to care about how we look and how others judge our appearance. Because they do. We do. I do! And now I’m questioning why. If I know it’s wrong, why do I care? Why do I judge others?
The answer, according to Taryn, is everywhere. We all know about the ‘bad’ magazines, and the photo-shopping and the adverts for diets and beauty products that don’t work. God-damn money making twats, selling the impossible.
Yes, of course. But it’s not just ‘them’. She pointed out some of the ways we talk to each-other…
“Oh you’ve lost weight, you look amazing.”
“I daren’t have a cake, I don’t want to get fat.”
“I’ve got to get back to the gym, my thighs are like tree trunks”
Holy fuck. We say this in front of our kids, and then wonder why they start using appearance comments as insults.
The real standout of the film for me was a lady who had been badly injured in a fire and was scarred across her face and body. She received supposedly well-meaning comments that she was lucky to have such a good husband who stayed with her. Which made her question – Is that all I was before? A pretty face? Was there not more to me than how I looked? She ended with the killer line… “Actually I am pretty awesome.”
I’m not ashamed to say that I cried.
Thought-provoking, heart-breaking, hope-inspiring. And a whole lot of fun too. I laughed out loud several times, not least when Taryn visited a surgeon who told her what ‘normal breasts’ look like. She has even better self-restraint than me!
Please, PLEASE find a way to see this film.
Watch the Embrace trailer.
Here’s how you can see Embrace
There are screenings across the UK now. But you wont find this film as a normal cinema listing. It’s an independent, crowd-funded film, being promoted via Demand Films, and Taryn herself is in the UK hosting some of the events. (She is a-may-zing. I heart her.)
The idea is that people like me, who feel passionate about sharing this story with more people, will create demand for more screenings, and host our own events. And hopefully that will create demand for more and more screenings. You see?
Find a screening near you
Or host your own event.
There’s no financial outlay. Demand films help you set everything up at your local cinema and help you promote it to your friends and local community. If enough people buy a ticket the show goes ahead. If not enough tickets are sold, it is cancelled and no money is taken from people’s payment cards.