Jade Beall Celebrates Real Beauty
Photographer Jade Beall has started an incredible, commendable project. She never saw herself as someone who was considered to have “traditional standards of beauty” and after giving birth herself, she made the courageous decision to post a semi-naked self portrait onto her Facebook profile page. The untouched image was an instant hit, with women all over the world sharing and liking the photo. It wasn’t long until they started sending Jade request’s to capture their own post-partum bodies too. Of course, she accepted and so began the ‘Beautiful Body’ project.
After she began lensing other women, the project turned into a mission for Jade, who saw it as the perfect opportunity to “redefine beautiful,” with countless women feeling empowered and attractive because of this project. They began to stop looking at themselves as ruined and began to take great pleasure in embracing themselves, with their families and children showing an unbelievable amount of love and admiration for them.
Scars, Saggy Skin And Stretch Marks… So What?
How often is airbrushing used to get rid of any ‘flaws’ or ‘imperfections’ that we have? We live in a world where there is an immense pressure to cave into other people’s idea of perfection and this project is a clear example that we don’t need to be airbrushed or edited to feel good about ourselves. First and foremost, it’s time to accept normality. Then it is time to celebrate it! We can tell when images are photoshopped and it’s safe to say, even supermodels are airbrushed to totally unrealistic standards.
However, knowing it’s unrealistic doesn’t make it any easier to accept our own bodies when we are constantly forcefed this idea that scars, saggy skin, stretch marks and all the other things that come with baring a child, are not acceptable and should not be flaunted. It’s an unspoken word that it’s okay to have these flaws, just as long as you don’t show them. These are the marks of a woman who has grown a life inside of her and giving birth is the most natural, pure thing a woman can do. These marks and scars are not shameful and taking pictures of ACTUAL women with ACTUAL real bodies was a genius idea by Beall.
Let’s All Help Redefine ‘Beautiful’.
However, Jade isn’t the only one starting up an admirable project like this. A 14 year old girl called Julia Bluhm from Waterville, Maine started a petition to get Seventeen Magazine to publish one non-airbrushed spread each month. Julia admitted that her friends would constantly make negative comments about their own bodies and she wanted to fight back against deceptive images that gave girls an unrealistic idea of how they should look. With 84,000 people signing the petition, the magazine agreed and published a pledge, promising to be more transparent with their photo shoots.
The “Body Peace Treaty” has now been published in Seventeen magazine and states that it will “never change girls’ body or face shapes (never have, never will).” If we feel like we don’t fit the criteria, we do not have to ‘fix’ anything. We are already the perfect version of ourselves and the more we look in the mirror and think “I’m ready to feel beautiful,” the more we can encourage projects like these.
Go to www.abeautifulbodyproject.com and look at all the women who are brave and proud enough to show off their post-partum bodies. Women of all different shapes and sizes, colours and ethnicities all join together to unite as they take great joy in telling their stories and encouraging other women to do the same. The project is this: all the women that have been captured on film are now part of a series and Jade hopes to ultimately turn this into a published book. Let’s all help redefine ‘Beautiful’. ~ Ceylan