(these are the girls who failed their parents in some way. they didn’t become doctors, maybe- or they fell in love with someone who their parents didn’t want. maybe they never drank the appropriate amount or said the right things at a party. maybe didn’t wear dresses enough- or wore them too much. maybe it was as simple as turning left when their parents expected them to turn right. but they’re here now, these disappointing daughters. they’re here and they’re ready to fight. because maybe their parents won’t be proud anytime soon, but they are. they’re proud they made it here, they’re proud they’re who they are, they’re proud they are alive. and that’s enough, no maybes about it.
Body Positivity Week is a week of content devoted to exploring and celebrating our complicated relationships with our bodies. Over the course of the week, BuzzFeed will cover diverse topics such as body image and body dysmorphia; eating disorders; fitness, health, and illness; and offer tips on how to improve our relationships with our bodies. To stay aligned with this purpose, the people in the following images have been photographed in natural light and they have not undergone any beauty retouching.
“I remember when I was kid I really wanted to be an actor, like most kids probably, but unlike most kids I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make a career of it as early as 9 to 10 years old.”
“My amputation is congenital, and the only time I see my body type in the media is when it’s around some sort of tragedy. It would be nice to see a success story in the media, or maybe just an amputee being not actually THE story.
“Since I’ve become an avid trainer and gotten involved in following and learning from other adaptive athletes, I’ve loved the challenge of working out my arms. The progress there is the result of a lot of hard work and creative training.” —Taylor
“As a person who identifies as male/non-binary, but chooses not to medically transition, it’s almost impossible to think of any representatives in the media.”
“I thought to myself, ‘If I can’t find someone that looks like me in the media, why not just do it myself?’ Transitioning is such a huge, personal decision that not every trans/non-binary person makes. For some it is an absolute necessity for both their physical and mental well-being, but that’s not always the case. People may not understand right away and may want to have discussions with you that you may find uncomfortable, but oftentimes it’s not coming from a negative place, just a desire to understand.” —Leah
“The media would most likely typecast me as a gangster, drug user, or drug dealer because I have tattoos.”
“I’ve been told, ‘Your scar won’t get you any bookings or work. You will have to always cover them up and on top of that you are black.’ This is my motivation to change things in the media regarding body types and scars. The least I can do is bring myself exactly how I was created: a model with scars and natural imperfections that are perfectly me.” —Jimmy
“When you look at a man you’re attracted to, you always have to check if you’re attracted to them or if you want to be them.”
“The question becomes: ‘Since these images — these white, muscular, heteronormative bodies — that I’m conditioned to desire do not look like me, how could I be possibly allowed to desire, to love what I look like?’ I’m a lot better about it nowadays but still, I have to remind myself every day: We are more than just our bodies, so don’t stress. And take a selfie, because you look cute today.” —Matt
“For a long time I worried that I wasn’t the ‘ideal look’ so I tried to cover myself in ill-fitting, expensive clothes that I didn’t even feel comfortable in.”
“People find reasons to not appreciate bigger people because they think they look ‘unhealthy.’ I say we tell those people to get out of the unhealthy mindset of disrespecting others and celebrate beauty for all. It wasn’t until I started being true to my size that I started dressing for my happiness, and not for others.” —Kyle
“Commercials always told the story that acne could be cured and cleared.”
“My breakouts have subsided after trying dozens of treatments, but I still see the scars all over my face and on my chest. Does it bother me? Not so much anymore. I wish that we could tell everyone that acne and blemishes are not signs that we are broken. I wish that we could teach each other to look at ourselves in the mirror and love the skin we wear. Treatments and chemicals may help some guys find clear skin. But for guys like me who will show off our scars for everyone to see, we need to learn that we can be happy and confident in any skin.” —Kenny
“The words ‘androgynous and ‘plus size’ are never seen together in the media.”
“As a child, I thought I had to look a certain way to be accepted by society. I used to see myself as a day late and a dollar short of beauty. Now, I see myself through a less influenced lens and I do my own thing.” —Mojo
“I learned at an early age that I didn’t look the way I should — meaning I didn’t look like the images of men I had seen on TV and in magazines.”
“In high school I heavily abused Photoshop to fool strangers on social media that I was much thinner than I actually am. I am a little more honest and comfortable with my body today, but I think that if media were a bit more inclusive, I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my life obsessing over something that shouldn’t matter.” —Chad
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen scars of this nature anywhere in TV/film/print.”
“The only mention of keloids that I’ve seen in the media is for the advertisement of their removal. When the scarring first happened, I was depressed, especially after learning that my skin would probably never look the same again. Everywhere I looked in the media I saw perfection, and anytime I saw a shirtless male on TV, in a movie, or in a magazine, I was just reminded of the fact that I would never look like that. It took years for me to get comfortable with my body and the way I look.” —Andrew
“Do I wish I was looked like all the ‘sexy’ examples of 50 and over maleness? Sure, but it ain’t going happen.”
“As a gay man of certain age, I’ve grown used to body shaming. I grew up in a time when HIV/AIDS had a solid hold. Guy began to shun the lean physique so prized in the 1970s and embrace the cartoon, steroid-induced “Tom of Finland” idea of masculinity. I never fit into any body type except average, and average wasn’t desirable. I find it so refreshing that today, extreme body fascism seems to have subsided a bit; guys of all shapes and sizes can find their own niche.” —Bruce
“Being an Olympic weightlifter, I pride myself on my dedication to personal fitness, but because my body doesn’t fit the Asian stereotype, my Asian-ness is questioned.”
“Asian athletes are portrayed as the unicorns of the Asian race because fit, tall Asian guys aren’t supposed to exist within the colonialist narrative that still exists today. I want to see the diversification of all racial representations in the media because so often, people of different races and ethnicities get boiled down to fit one dominating stereotype.” —Nico
“When it comes to big dudes there are so many levels, and in the media we’re portrayed as sloppy.”
“I can’t even name any big actors, really. There’s no big leading men. There should be, ’cause we out here too. Our lack of representation makes me go harder,because I hate to see big dudes doubting themselves.” —Joseph
“As a heavily bullied gay child, I remember seeing the massive bodybuilders on fitness magazine covers and being in such awe of their sheer size and strength.”
“It was such a thrilling and inspiring thing to see. It’s definitely one of the first moments I remember noticing my attraction for men, which I understood then in more aspirational terms, i.e., ‘I want to look like them.’ I’ve been into working out since I was a teen, but it wasn’t until last year that I really made a commitment to pursuing bodybuilding seriously.” —Alan
“Bearded, hairy men are almost always muscular or overweight. One extreme or the other, no in between.”
“Media/TV/film/ads used to affect the way I saw myself when I was younger. As you mature you become more comfortable in the skin you’re in. It took years to be OK with being just average.
I’m happy to see focus on female body empowerment, but we can’t forget the guys.We are affected by images on TV/film/paper, too. This Body Revolution can be shared by all genders.” — Brandon
Body Positivity Week is a week of content devoted to exploring and celebrating our complicated relationships with our bodies. Check out more great Body Positivity Week content here.