Posts Categorized: body image

Guest Post: Fair Anita Founder Joy McBrien on Body Image and Sexual Violence

CONTENT WARNING: This post will discuss sexual violence and rape. Please stop reading now if these topics are triggering for you.

I first met Joy McBrien at a women’s leadership conference that she’d organized with several other young women, and was immediately struck by her openness and generosity of spirit. When I found out she’d created Fair Anita, I knew we needed to spend some time talking. As we did, Joy told me about her experiences being raped and how it had impacted her body image. She also told me that, like many women, she assumed how she looked was at least partially to blame for what had happened to her and we agreed that sharing her story here could have an impact. Both as a powerful act of reclamation for her and an opportunity to reach and help any women who were in similar situations and struggling for clarity.


All Women Are Real Women


Know what sucks? When something that’s meant to empower one group hurts another group. It’s especially enraging when group one really needs some empowerment and support because they’re generally ignored, derided, or disrespected. Or when group two is already in power and has major advantages.

But here’s the thing: If an action is supposed to make you feel better about yourself, but does so by mocking or scorning someone else, it’s insidious. It’s beneath you. It’s flat-out bad. Because your self-worth and confidence shouldn’t be contingent on your “superiority” to anyone, and because this kind of comparison shows an alarming lack of self-awareness. Try as hard as you can to find what’s good about you by examining you, not by holding yourself up to others.


Recognition and Figure Diversity

Does anyone else remember the outpouring of elation that surrounded this photo?


People were absolutely over the moon that Glamour dared publish a photo of a woman with a visible belly. I remember reading messages from readers who were so overwhelmed by the sight of a belly on a magazine model that they teared up, and others who praised Glamour for being brave enough to break from the pack and feature such a photo. One reader even expressed a sense of validation, saying that seeing this image made her realize that her own belly was “normal.”