Yesterday was the unique opportunity to watch Tary Brumfitts documentary “Embrace” on Germany’s big screens. Of course, an opportunity that I could not let go.
Media, advertising and society shape a body image that makes us judge and condemn ourselves and others time and again. Australian photographer and mother of three Taryn Brumfitt did not longer want to accept this. On Facebook, she posted these unusual before/after pictures of her nearly naked body and triggered storms of enthusiasm. Thanks to her post, viewed far more than 100 million times in social media, the issue of body image became the focus of a worldwide public attention. At the same time, she freed herself from the unhealthy striving for the “perfect body”. With the help of this documentary Brumfitt wants to provide an alternative concept to all those who suffer from the pretended beauty ideal: EMBRACE!
When we heard that the Australian documentary would hit Germany’s movie theatres, I bought my ticket immediately. Thus, yesterday I sat together with 445 other interested in Munich’s sold out Mathäser Kino. To my surprise (and much to my delight) eight men were amongst the audience. I appreciated a lot to see so many different women of all ages coming together. This was perfect for this movie which started with a personal introduction of the actress Nora Tschirner, the executive producer of Embrace.
Taryn Brumfitt goes on a journey around the globe to find out why so many women do not like their body just as it is. She met women who have their very personal experience with body-shaming and body perception. The movie inspires and changes the way we think about ourselves and about our body. Taryn’s message: love your body just as it is, it’s the only one you have!
Her story is stirring and that this could be literally felt in the auditorium. Taryn’s visit to a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, for example, who explained what could be possibly done with a body – like injecting the fat from the buttock into the lips – provoked a hearty laughter amongst the spectators. A pretty bizarre idea. What I found particularly interesting was the interview with the Australian editor Mia Freedman:
“If you look at the women’s magazines of the past 40 or 50 years one could really think that there’s only one type of woman: she is two meters tall, approx. 17 years old, typically blonde and blue-eyed with a skin like plastic. But in truth she’s an alien, because she has been created on a computer. And women tempt to compare themselves. How could you feel at ease when watching yourself in the mirror by always comparing yourself to something which does not exist? The way our culture depreciates women because of their appearance is not only a shocking burden but also an evidence of incapacity”.
At the end of her journey Taryn makes a short stop in Sydney to join a huge group of foreigners for a naked swim. The organizers contacted her and Taryn did not want to miss this opportunity. When she intervieed herself and stated what this event triggers in her, there was no dry eye in the house. It was perceptible that the tears were hold back during the entire movie but with the story of Tyran, telling that she was standing next to a woman who suddenly screams “there is another one with just one breast”, everyone breaks into tears – also the eight men, voluntary or involuntary witnesses of the movie.
The movie couldn’t have a better final speech: the plus size model, who was interviewed by Tyran at a New York shooting (see picture above) said: “I am big, beautiful and I have dangerous curves!” – as background music the song “You are beautiful the way that you are” and blowing spectators. After Nora Tschirner’s epilogue the crowd burst into thunderous applause.
As far as Taryn Brumfitt and Nora Tschirner are concerned, the movie should give an impetus to the women all over the world to rethink. And at this point, it’s already received more attention than any blockbuster.
During the closing credits, nobody moved. Slowly some women got up little by to leave the audience. Many of them remained seated, had a chat and were obviously not ready to leave yet. Because outside of the theatre the reality was waiting, inside everyone had the impression to be understood, secure and safe.
I do hope that these women (and the many others who have seen the movie in Germany yesterday too) love their body just the way it is and send out this message and this feeling to the world. We will continue to do our best, to share this message with you.
Translation: Danielle De Bie