Short. Frumpy. Disgusting. These are all words women used to describe their bodies to Taryn Brumfitt, the founder of the Body Positive Movement. Brumfitt is no stranger to being unhappy with her body, having struggled with self-acceptance herself for many years before finally learning to love her body at a healthy and beautiful size 12. But, other women still struggle, and Brumfitt wanted to do something about it, so the Embrace documentary was born.
Embrace is a documentary that focuses on the relationships that women have with their bodies. In it, Brumfitt challenges and encourages women to love their bodies as they are, rather than looking for flaws. She shares her own struggle of acceptance, saying how she thought her body was disgusting, so she decided to do something about it—and became a bodybuilder. Yet, she still was not happy with her body and wanted to change things. But, it was thoughts of her young daughter that changed everything. She wanted her daughter to be able to love herself as she was, but how could she if her own mother did not?
The documentary gained a lot of support through a Kickstarter campaign and has even won awards for the powerful message that it sends. Many mothers who went to the screenings agreed that it was an important documentary to show to their daughters, to show them a positive look at their bodies.
Yet, just as many people applauded Embrace, others complained about the “explicit” nature of the film. Due to the fact that Embrace had up-close, uncensored images of female genitalia, the Australian Classification Board gave the documentary an MA15+ rating, which meant most high school age kids would be unable to watch it without a parent and it would not be allowed to be shown in schools. It also put Embrace in the same category as Fifty Shades of Grey, which Brumfitt argued was unfair, considering the message that Embrace was sharing. She also pointed out that the streets were full of hyper-sexualized images of women, so what made her education and body positive documentary any different?
Recently, however, the Classification Review Board has had a change of heart, lowering the original MA15+ rating to M. This rating change means that high school-age girls will now be able to see the movie in school, where Brumfitt has wanted to film to really be seen. It will give young girls a chance to truly learn a lot about their bodies, especially since things like teen labiaplasty are on the rise in some areas. The rating change is a huge win for Embrace and the Body Positive Movement as a whole, as it sends an important message about they way people look at women’s bodies.
While it was not an easy journey, Brumfitt was able to learn to love herself just as she was. Now, she hopes the women and young girls who watch Embrace can learn to do the same. The documentary sends a powerful message about body positive thinking and self-acceptance. She wants viewers to challenge society’s outdated, unrealistic beauty standards and just be themselves.