“I received a collaboration request from a clothing company. It all seemed above board. Their website showed diversity and they seemed to have some inclusion in sizes. They tote ethical procedures, which you all know matters to me. By the third email, they asked for more images of me. They needed ‘to see if my body would be suitable to model underwear or just clothing.’
I immediately dove back into their website to realize all the curvy girls were still pretty fit and their skin was flawless. I emailed them back letting them know I would not be participating in anything from their company and I listed my reasons, it was a long email.
I asked them how they feel when they stand in line to buy their groceries and read magazine titles like ‘How to lose 15 pounds fast!’ ‘Get rid of your stretch marks with this natural secret,’ ‘How to straighten your hair if it’s curly,’ and ‘How to curl your hair if it is straight’?
I asked them how it felt when they had acne as a teenager or even yesterday.
I asked them what they teach their daughters about their bodies. Do they speak love over themselves in front of their precious minds or do they hear self-loathing?
I could move forward with the job, make some money, and everything would stay the same but instead, I dissent from this constant rhetoric. My worth is not for sale. This is the vessel that carries my soul and I choose to honor her.
I decided to take the pictures anyway, not for them, but for you.
Here’s what I want you to ponder, dear beautiful souls:
Would Amelia Earhart’s contribution to this world be less valuable if she’d had a scar on her face?
Would Harriet Tubman still be written in the pages of history if she’d been 15 pounds heavier?
What about Anne Frank? Do we ask if her teeth were straight when we read her account of Nazi-occupied Europe?
No. We do not. Because their bodies were the least interesting thing about them, and so is yours.
I have the privilege of being able to pull up my yoga pants to cover the scars life and love have given me, not everyone can. If I am to be any part of influencing women, let it be to empower you that you are beautiful, capable, and worthy just as you are. Your authenticity is your power.
Your contribution to this world is so much more important than how you look walking around existing.
Demand better from the brands you buy from, unfollow the accounts that make you feel like crap, stop giving so much power to them, and your appearance.
We control the narrative.
We write the future for the next generation.
We are here to take up space and use it well.
Live your life, authentically, vibrantly, abundantly.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Bryant, 31, of North Caroina. Follow Katie on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
More from Katie here:
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‘We nearly lost him today. I pulled off wrappers, started dishing them out. I gave it to him.’: Mom feels guilt for giving son Popsicle that ignited peanut allergy, ‘We’re just trying to keep our kid alive’
‘I got the call at 6 p.m., left my kids with my husband and drove to her house with my socks crammed into my Birkenstocks.’: Mom urges others to ‘just show up’ when friends need you, ‘She didn’t need Pinterest, she needed me’
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