Body Talk: Girls Night Out
Recently I had one of my best girls’ night outs and there were no polls this time (wink). Sure there were drinks (lots of them lol), great food, and wonderful literary entertainment but most of all there were the conversations ~ the types of conversations that remind you just how brilliant and transformative the women in your life are! As the resident body image, weight stigma awareness obsessed friend, of course I just had to rave about my time at NAAFA’s (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) 2014 annual convention.
NAAFA is a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to ending size discrimination in all its forms. Not only do you go there to catch up with both old and new friends and to learn how you can tackle weight prejudice regardless of your geographic location, I also had the opportunity to participate on a panel as a board of director representative for PlusInc a new(ish) non-profit organization also addressing size, weight, and shape-based discrimination. I’ve provided the links here so I won’t preach about all the wonders of these organizations (though I’ve got to toot that we’ve started a NAAFA Toronto Facebook page and will be having our first in-person meeting late November 2014 to discuss a NAAFA Toronto Chapter~ details coming soon!!!).
I also told my buddies about being selected some time back (clearly girls nite out for us needs to happen more frequently!) as the April 2014 DOVE Real Woman of the Month. It’s absolutely no secret that I have been both fan and critic of DOVE and their body positivity initiatives. A total admirer of the conversations they’ve started on women, girls loving their bodies, I have had questions as to how these conversations manifest in other spaces where body modifications such as skin-bleaching run rampant and are at times promoted or masked under the rhetoric of ‘bettering yourself’. Even in Canada we know that while DOVE has pushed the bar on body ideals there’s a whole lot-a-pushin’ left on that bar that needs to be had if we and companies like DOVE are to reimagine the way we envision “femininity” and diverse beauty standards. Nonetheless I was thankful to DOVE for recognizing some of my efforts. I’ve communicated some of my suggestions and look forward to hearing back from them:)
Below is a tidbit from my conversation with DOVE and as YOU prepare for your next Girls Night Out make sure you enter Penningtons Girls Night Out Contest by October 15, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time).
What is an important message you would like to share with women and girls everywhere (about real beauty and/or self-esteem)?
Me: The only “real” beauty that’s truly real is your own! Each of our bodies regardless of size, shape, race, shade, ability, gender you name it are differently fabulous and it’s in these differences that we are so very lucky to catch priceless glimpses of one another’s personalities, our passions, and our “beauty.” There is no “original” body or beauty mold. As we go about our days living our lives, accomplishing goals, facing the challenges and interacting with each other fiercely, fashionably and politically (however we choose to define that!)…these are the things that help our “beauty” grow and stand out!
How do you inspire the women and girls in your life to embrace their real beauty?
Me: By trying my absolute best to embrace my own. We are all works in progress and as such some days are easier than others. However, if I’m going to tell women and girls that they are perfect just the way they are ~ mind, body, and soul then I have to try my best to emulate that. Another important message for me is to help women and girls redefine beauty. For me it’s not just about what or how your body looks. Beauty is also about you believing you are amazing enough to achieve success (self-defined), to have healthy relationships, and most importantly to love yourself. This all takes work and it’s not easy with the barrage of messages we always get about changing our bodies in order to be ‘acceptable.’ If we work together by ‘talking back’ to these so-called ‘ideal standards’ and we collectively buck the systems that stand to benefit from the racist, sexist, ableist, sizeist you name it pillars these beauty standards are built on the message will shift. The people and institutions who have appointed themselves the privileged tellers of beauty’s “truths” will change as well!
WANNA SHOP OUR CLOSET! Join us this Sunday October 19th at the Big Deal Toronto (12-5pm) with other fabulous Toronto based bloggers for a chance to buy some of our most coveted outfits. Sizes 12- 22, Shoes , Boots ( Sizes 9-12) . For more details click here VIP tickets for early shopping hour from 12-1pm available for $20!!! General admission from 1-5pm is $5!!!
Get your tickets here before they’re gone: http://www.eventbrite.