Celebrating women who embrace their unique Aura of Woman and share it with the world.
Body shaming: No one is exempt from “2-ton women” on airplanes to size 0 supermodels. Shamers are narcissistic bullies who think our existence is solely for their pleasure, magazine editors, movie directors, jealous women and children, insecure spouses and children, terrible parents, and worst of all… ourselves.
I have photographed a stunning belly dancer named Emily Alrick on several occasions. I’ve known her for years and consider her a dear friend as well as gorgeous, confident, and sexy. When I asked her to submit a blurb about living audaciously and loving her body, I was surprised at how authentic and vulnerable she really is.
This article comes on the heels of several related posts in my Facebook feed, one by Katie Kiacz that went viral yesterday about an obvious narcissist, a stranger blatantly shaming her recently pregnant, voluptuous body on an airplane. Katie took a picture of him then herself in the mirror, boldly hoping the post would get back to him and inundate him with the message that it’s not ok. #callhimout #donotexisttopleaseyou #2tonfun
The post right after that was about a child loudly exclaiming how large my friend is who happens to be a very beautiful and talented belly dancer. My friend handled it with grace and said, “I’m the size I’m supposed to be.”
Another fitness and dance instructor I know witnessed two of her students laughing and criticizing a new student’s weight who had been thoroughly enjoying herself and was beautiful with a radiant smile.
I am friends with an actual supermodel who has shared how damaging it was psychologically to be in that industry. She tried to guide her daughter through the process emotionally intact. She thought she was a has-been but has been welcomed back at a healthy weight and the age of 40… thanks to overwhelming demands by us, by sharing their stories on social media and encouraging body positive behavior.
I have also been body shamed, even when I was an aerobics instructor teaching two hours a day, six days a week at the age of 23. Once an unknown young man laughed and yelled derogatory comments at me as I ran up a mountain, something I did 3 to 5 times a week, 5 to 8 miles a day.
Sharing Emily’s insecurities made me uncomfortable at first but after analysis, I find them beneficial for everyone. People of all shapes and sizes need to know they are not alone in this. The answer is simply to be a rebel and love yourself, regardless of your age and weight. Dance because you want to and you can, in spite of criticism. Don’t hide. Climb that mountain for fun. Thank your body. Know you are beautiful to me.
“Thinking about comparison, jealousy, insecurity, and self-perception after a sad/hilarious accusation that I am “airbrushed'” in my photos. Believe me, I would have had quite a few more requests had my body been photoshopped! Where is my six-pack? Wings and a tail maybe? But honestly, I am actually vehemently against having my body changed in photos. A great photographer, lighting, makeup, and posing can be powerful and I have a lot of experience in front of a camera… And that experience came at a cost. I can tell you every little tiny detail of what’s “wrong” with me, things you would never think of unless you’ve worked in the fashion industry. While it’s still easy for me to look at myself and find nothing but flaws I have been through enough shit with my body to be able to quiet that mean voice and appreciate the body I have. It’s just a good reminder that we are all in our own battles. Somebody else looking different than you does not mean either of you are less worthy. Somebody else looking beautiful does not mean you are not beautiful. What I see isn’t always what you see. We can’t know someone else’s demons. Don’t let comparison steal your joy. If I waited my whole life for the skinny thighs I’ve been convinced I need to be happy… I’m gonna be waiting until I die.
Stop waiting to enjoy your body! Do things that feel good, bring you pleasure and make you stronger. Develop a healthy relationship with your own self. It is not too late. Don’t let comparison steal your joy.”
Thank you for sharing, Emily.
Emily Alrick was the Director and a performer of Circus Tribal Bellydance Co. 2006-13 and is now a Certified Personal Trainer conducting fitness and dance classes in Ashland, Oregon. Learn more at EmilyAlrick.com and find her on Facebook.