I photographed a gorgeous woman named Paula recently for A Beautiful Body Book Project and not one day had passed before I received this heart-wrenching email from her.
Ashamed and Embarrassed That Her Daughter Posed For This Project2
I had to email. I just got off the phone with my mom and told her about my photoshoot with you for this project. She was horrified. ”Is this something my friends will see?” she asked in fear? ”Yes” I replied, “If they see the book or the project information online.”
“So this is online as well?!?” with even more disgust in her voice if that was even possible.
“Yes” I again replied, “and has received international attention.”
She proceeded to tell me how absolutely repulsed by obese women she is. She shared a story about how once in nursing school, she had to work on an obese woman and was so repulsed she would only eat salad and hard boiled eggs for a month. She then shared that she was so disgusted by her own body since gaining weight that she had refused to be naked in front of anyone, and had completely stopped dating or entering into any kind of a relationship – all because she was so disgusting.
I said, “Isn’t that kind of the whole point? My body is amazing, and it’s mine. It is the map of my experiences and existence. Why should I have to be disgusted by it because I am carrying more around than anyone else?”
She couldn’t say she was proud of me, only ashamed. And embarrassed.
You are doing good work and I am proud to have been a part of it. I knew walking in that my photo (I am pretty sure I am the largest woman you’ve photographed in the all-together for this project) would inspire a lot of criticism. But hopefully, by me standing strong and proud being who I am – someone won’t be quite so hard on themselves.
Thank you for being who you are, and doing what you do.
Love to all – Paula
Paula is an incredible woman. She is the proud mother of several beautiful children. Her husband adores her. He loves his wife and tells her she is beautiful. Paula is very involved in helping other women feel empowered.
I stand my ground: I think women need to empower other women to feel beautiful. Period. There is a lot of controversy around weight and that people like me should not be promoting/praising a so called “unhealthy lifestyle” which I have learned is another way to shame a woman with a non-thin body. The thing is, true, wholehearted health starts with self love, not shame. One must feel empowered before she makes the next step towards the future. We must not shame each other. We must inspire one another because with the gracious offering of support towards one another, healing occurs. I choose healing. Do you? -Jade Beall
« Previous Post“I Asked My Daughter Am I Beautiful?”: Kath’s Poem Next Post »Abducted and Sexually Exploited For 1.5 Years, Healing Through Photoshoots: Ashley's Story