This week I had the pleasure and privilege of going to a body positivity event hosted by the MuTu System. It was a screening of the Body Positivity documentary created by Taryn Brumfitt Founder of the Body Image Movement, Embrace, followed by an introduction to the Mutu System led by its founder, Wendy Powell.
A powerful and emotional, and above all, life-changing documentary, the heart of Embrace is Taryn’s story. How she went from being a body hater to a body lover. From being devastated by her perceived ugliness to proudly posing nude for the whole world to see. This documentary should be shown in schools, should be seen by men and women, young and old. It is truly remarkable and devastating and awful and wonderful.
The things I gleaned from it: realising how deeply entrenched our internal messages about our bodies are. From years and years of changing rooms telling us that we’re not a medium we’re a LARGE. From shouty magazine headlines saying SHE WENT FROM A SIZE 16 TO A SIZE 8! in congratulatory terms. The societal expectation of women being there to be aesthetically pleasing and there to have their prettiness and beauty please others. The focus on the superficial, what’s outside that counts – which often even if it is “perfect” belies what happiness or health is going on inside. Always feeling like we’re the one that is falling down and being not good enough. When surely it’s not a problem in you, it’s a problem in the fashion industry being not good enough.
The best quote for me had to be from the amazing Amanda de Cadanet (who, incidentally, before she became a Hollywood superstar went to school with my sister in Holland Park…), pondering when she sometimes considers what it would take for her to get THAT “perfect” body that society so desires, when she has to be exposed in front of the media who will inevitably pick her apart like vultures. It would mean changing her life, denying pleasures, not being present for her children. She says “if it comes to a choice of being thin or eating the cookie that my kid bakes. I’m gonna eat the fucking cookie my kid bakes”.
Women interviewed in the street about their body image described themselves as “disgusting”, “hideous”, “fat”…it was properly heartbreaking stuff, made me weep and I’m not ashamed to say it.
One of the most powerful sequences for me was that from Jade Beall, a photographer and author of the book The Bodies of Mothers, who has focused on women celebrating their bodies. She talks of her own experience postnatally of feeling overwhelmed, anxious and ugly, so she set up a self-portrait session to capture images of her and her newborn at this time… it brought me to tears how stunning she was and the images that she presented are simply extraordinary in their power and beauty. She talks of how the women she photograph are so often negative about their appearance – let’s face it, it’s usually a negative thought that enters before a positive one when we consider our body and beauty isn’t it – and she says, why do we constantly undermine and feel dissatisfied by images , that we’re not enough. Why do we not look at an image, and think “wow, she looks like me and she’s beautiful”.
We need to be vulnerable, be kind, stop judging others as much as we need to stop judging ourselves. Stop listening to our inner critic and instead allow the voice of your inner compassion speak a bit louder. These feelings are contagious: either negatively, or positively. If you feel down on yourselves and others that will spread. If instead you feel joyful and celebrate the awesomeness of individual body shapes and form, that will also ripple out. Agonising about your body shape is a WASTE OF PRECIOUS LIFE.
How would you describe your body? Some of the wonderful descriptions that came out during the documentary were: “My home, my friend”, “luscious, soft, comforting”, “a sturdy vehicle not an ornament”. EMBRACE your body don’t be at war with it.
You are allowed to love your body. Remember that.
Such a powerful documentary, I urge you to seek it out and see it, right now!!
The discussion that followed was, as you can imagine, passionate and emotional – a feeling of weariness about society and the enormity of the challenge, but a feeling of empowerment that we CAN change, it will just take diligence and dedication.
Wendy Powell said something which made me cheer outwardly: that women deserve to have a body they can feel happy in, can move in, can jump around in. And too often postnatally this is denied to us because of the lack of proper care that is out there for rehabilitating postnatally. Anything that celebrates the female body and doesn’t suggest that we need to lose weight as the answer to our happiness prayers is a winner in my book.
The MuTu System is a medically reviewed and doctor recommended exercise and recovery program to help you eliminate ‘mummy tummy’, Diastasis Recti and pelvic floor weakness—while building your confidence.
As Wendy Powell said, for too long women have been putting up with feeling a bit under par post-birth, but accepting it as normal. But it’s NOT normal to be weeing while you’re running or when you sneeze or cough. It’s not normal to have an urgent need to go as soon as you put your key in the door. Pelvic floor health is so misunderstood and there is no much more to pelvic floor strengthening that just SQUEEZE. I’ve explored this in another blog post about pelvic floor health – we need flexible strength, not rigid hold.
As part of this event I am excited to be trialling the MuTu system over the next 12 weeks, and I’ll report back on my progress. I’ve had lots of clients over the years who have mentioned MuTu to me, and now I’ll be able to offer an experienced description of the system! Plus I’m looking forward to dedicating some targeted time to my own pelvic floor and post-section tummy.
And even better, MuTu has given me an exclusive code which you can use to receive a 15% discount on the programme: simply sign up using the code EMBRACE15
Cant wait to begin the core-restore journey and would love it if any of you would like to join me! xxx
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