#HereIAm: A Message About Body Confidence
#HereIAm; three simple words that hold a powerful message of body confidence and self-love. It is also the name of a new campaign started by retail giant JCPenney’s to promote their partnership with up-and-coming fashion designer Ashley Nell Tipton, whose exclusive plus size clothing line is set to launch in many of the JCPenney stores this coming fall. In the video promoting the campaign Tipton is joined by 4 other incredible plus size women: Jes Baker, Mary Lambert, Gabi Fresh, and Valerie Sagun. While the video is simple, the message is incredibly empowering: they will not hide just because someone does not like their body and they certainly will not let anyone stop them from living the lives they want to live. Instead, they will proudly tell the world #HereIAm.
The video opens with author and body activist Jes Baker asking a question that all plus size women have likely asked themselves at some point: would life be better if she was thinner? The answer is an easy one: no, it would not. What would make it better, however, was if people stopped shaming her for not being thin. She admitted the name-calling she faced when she was younger was scary and hurtful, and made her wish things were different. Mary Lambert, Gabi Fresh, Ashley Nell Tipton, and Valerie Sagun all share similar experiences of questioning their worth and feeling ashamed of their bodies, while not fully understanding why people treated them so differently.
But, while all of these women struggled in the past with body confidence, they have learned over time to love themselves and overcome the cruelty of other people. As Tipton says in the video, the only person who can define her is herself. From there, the video shifts to show everyone that a plus size women can do whatever she wants; be it yoga, fashion design, modeling, dancing. They can be successful and happy and healthy and loved. Gabi Fresh goes on to say that even if she did lose weight tomorrow, it would not change who she is, while Mary Lambert stresses the fact that size does not indicate a person’s worth.
And it is true. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and each one is beautiful and unique. Nobody has the right to make you—or anyone else—ever question your worth. Just because you are plus size, it does not mean you cannot follow you dreams. Just look at the women in this campaign; they have not let their size stop them from accomplishing incredible things. So sing, dance, design a fashion line, create your own company, make a blog, travel the world; whatever you want to do, do it! But, most importantly, make sure to love yourself completely. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful, that you are strong and confident. Find your body confidence and embrace it. Because once you learn to love yourself as you are, then nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams.