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“As a media publication, we understand the responsibility media plays in our lives. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures while 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.  As a mother of two young children, I want to make sure that the next generation of young people don’t inherit our insecurities.” -WYV Founder, Editor-in-Chief Ravneet Vohra

Ever felt frustrated by the recent wave of “body positive” marketing campaigns by major brands claiming to represent “all womyn?” Have you noticed that they still exclude diversity and mainly feature white-appearing cis-gendered womyn under a size 16?  We have, and wondered what some of these campaigns could look like if they were truly an all-inclusive body positive movement. Wear Your Voice is launching our latest body positive campaign #BeyondBeauty, because we imagine a world where all bodies are celebrated, regardless of size,  race, gender expression, disability or religious background.

At the forefront of body positive campaigns over  the past decade, personal care brand Dove, owned by  multinational consumer goods giant Unilever, has reinvented itself through strategic and highly successful campaigns whose mission is to help girls raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential.”

Despite the fact Dove’s title leads one to believe a celebration of all womyn’s real beauty and bodies, the campaign itself was leveraged to sell products such as skin firming lotion and anti-aging serums (with sales  growth reaching a staggering $1.5 billion since the inception of the Real Beauty Campaign in 2004), and was apparently only interested in ‘real womyn’ with ‘flawless’ skin and ‘appropriate sized’ bodies. Looking closer at the seemingly simple and authentic campaign title  elicits questions such as; “Is there such thing as fake beauty?” (NO!), and “Who gets to define this term beauty to begin with?” (YOU DO!)

There is absolutely nothing we hate more than a body negative campaign created to sell products/make money/thrive off capitalistic culture, disguised as a body positive campaign.

In Dove’s own major global study,The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, commissioned in 2004, and the driving force behind the Campaign for Real Beauty,  ‘The great majority of women want broader definitions of how women’s physical beauty is visually represented. Seventy five percent of women in the study would like to see considerably more diversity in the images of beauty.’

For another example, take the recent onslaught of Lane Bryant campaigns which have the Body Positive, Plus Size, and Fat Activist communities up in arms. These campaigns have been pointedly titled #ImNoAngel (again, referencing our slender counterparts over at Victoria’s Secret) and #PlusIsEqual (referencing the disparity between Plus and “standard” size fashion). Yet again, the photos from the ad campaign seem to still fall into this trap somehow.  They lack diversity and appear to feature all models below a size 18. Lane Bryant, whose clothing goes up to a size 28, did not make it a point to feature any model above a size 18. They clearly showed the hypocrisy of their own message – for LB, plus quite obviously isn’t equal – not even amongst it’s own plus sizes!
Rather than just sit back and watch, Wear Your Voice knew that as a conscious media publication, we had a responsibility to step in. We chose not to just speak the truth, but capture it in photographic form. We invited 18 womyn of all shapes, sizes, gender expressions, sexualities, and colors to participate in our body positive photo shoot in order to help us better represent a wider spectrum of bodies. In white underwear and panties, these photographs demand that they be seen, heard, and honored. Our vision, which has been more than two years in the making for Creative Directors Rachel Otis and Sada Reed, far extends beyond this one photoshoot –  it is a campaign whose only selling point is self-love. We’re not endorsing a product, we are supporting authenticity in all its forms. We are daring to look beyond this traditional and limiting idea of “Beauty” to see the strength that not only lies within, but that exudes from all. We have stripped away the commercial by expanding upon it, in order to present the raw essence of self, reflected in each and every one of our diverse models. 

 We have not photoshopped the images of any of the womyn–why would we? We believe that everyone deserves to be celebrated as they are!

 We want to take our vision from the studio to social media– Wear Your Voice invites you to become part of the revolution. We encourage all womyn to join in and participate in disrupting the status quo by simply being yourself, proclaiming your own personal truth with the accompaniment of the hashtag #BeyondBeauty – Share a selfie, send a story, shift the paradigm #BeyondBeauty.

All Images Photo Credit: Elena Kulikova ( elenakulikovastudio) for Wear Your Voice Magazine Creative Directors: Rachel Otis and Sada Reed. Make-up by Bernadette Rose and Savannah Andrea. For high res images and press inquires, contact Lisa Bautista at [email protected]

#BeyondBeauty

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

 

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

 

 

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

 

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

 

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Elena Kulikova for Wear Your Voice Magazine

(image from left: Senior Editor Monica Cadena, Founder Ravneet Vohra, Senior Columnist Rachel Otis)

 

 

 

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