Where Are All the Goddesses?

In case you missed our recent media blitz, our Goddess Gathering blog post (written by Dena) went viral a few weeks ago. It amazes me to know that the simple act of taking off our shirts and baring our post-baby bodies was so revolutionary that it gained world-wide attention. And it gained that attention rapidly and fiercely. What that says to me is that women across the globe struggle to feel good about their bodies – and that struggle is particulary difficult for mothers.

It’s so hard to see thin & beautiful celebrities and models everywhere you look. Women in general can be incredibly hard on ourselves (I speak from vast personal experience) and often times we compare ourselves to the images we see. Society has been telling us for a long time that to be beautiful we must be thin. Argue with me all you want about this but I do blame the media & big business. Women ourselves didn’t just one day come up with this crippling notion that if we aren’t a size 0, 2 or 4 we’re ugly and imperfect. We are sold this idea everywhere we look and it’s not by accident (and it’s hard to remain unaffected – I myself struggle with body image issues).

The way businesses advertise to pregnant women is a great example of this. How many ads do you see in pregnancy related magazines for stretch mark prevention oils & lotions? How about that postpartum belly wrap endorsed by Kourtney Kardashian (or the dozens of knock-offs) that are supposed to get your hips back into place after giving birth? It’s almost like we’re being told that post-baby bodies shouldn’t show ANY signs of past pregnancies. Oh wait, that is EXACTLY what we’re being told.

Let’s really think about this.

What if we embraced our stretch marks and weren’t afraid of them? What if we were happy that after giving birth our hips spread out beautifully? What if we truly loved and appreciated all that our bodies did to help bring our children into the world?

I’m serious, what WOULD happen?

First of all, big businesses wouldn’t get to profit off making us feel badly about ourselves because we’d have no use for their “beauty” products. And maybe, just maybe, we would see more realistic looking women in advertisements and magazines. But MOST of all, can you imagine how beautiful of a world this would be? Can you imagine how much more time & energy we would each have if we just stopped pressuring ourselves to look a certain way?

I’m not saying it’s as easy as flipping a switch and turning off the internal and external pressure we feel to be thin – but we have to start trying. Our Goddess Gathering photo shoot was one small step to saying “fuck your fascist beauty standards.” We’ve created our very own “Goddess Gallery” that we devoted an entire website to because we feel it’s THAT important. So far, despite all the media attention and thousands of website hits this new website has garnered, only 3 people have sent in their own Goddess photo. THREE people.

I’ve had so many people tell me that they couldn’t do it – they just can’t take off their shirts and show their post-baby belly & body. I’m willing to bet that if we changed our rules and said we’d accept photos without people’s faces we’d get a lot more submissions, but we won’t do that. The whole point is to feel better about ourselves as a whole – to embrace our bodies as they are, right now. It’s incredibly sad, and it breaks my heart, that there aren’t more women excited and willing to add their photo to our gallery.

I simply wish, and hope, that through our work, more of you will feel empowered, beautiful, worthwhile and valued – no matter what the scale says.

My dream is that someday this whole post will seem completely ridiculous. That it will be incredibly silly to consider taking off our shirts to be revolutionary. But to get there we need to be open with each other about what our bodies really look like because it’s a powerful way to combat the media images we are constantly presented with.

In the words of Ani DiFranco, “‘I know there is strength in the differences between us and I know there is comfort where we overlap.” Let’s begin celebrating our different body types and I know for sure, we’ll all find immediate comfort.

23 thoughts on “Where Are All the Goddesses?

  1. My friends and I are working on setting up our own goddess party. So far, I have three moms and counting who have committed to bearing their bellies. Hoping to have pictures to post by early next week!

  2. I will totally submit a photo…but I want a good photo, so next time I see my best friend that is a photographer…I will get her to take good one. ( my hubby sucks with the camera!) I just completed my first journey as a gestational carrier, I had baby Sophie this May, so I am 8 weeks post partum, and don’t feel the greatest about my body….and that totally has to do with what I beleive society expects from us! I would like to change others expectations before baby Sophie or my own daughter has their first child! And you know what I know 3 other women that just had or will be having babies yet this summer….I will get them to do it too! I earned this body doing something wonderful for another human being….I should be proud of all I have done!

    1. I LOVE the name Sophie – so cute! I can’t wait to hear about how it goes getting your mom pals to do this as well!

  3. As much as I wish I could, I don’t know if I could bring myself to do it. When I was pregnant was really the happiest I’ve been with my body in a long time; I embraced my growing belly rather than trying to shrink it, hide it, or suck it in. I felt absolutely beautiful. And then as soon as I had her, my body image issues came back with a vengeance.

    I was overweight even before I got pregnant, and almost 2 years after our child was born I’m just now getting back down to my pre-baby weight. I know I should be proud of the body that grew and birthed a baby, then nourished her (still does, actually, although we’re weaning now) but every time I look in the mirror I feel sick and hate what I see. There’s still that thought in my head of, “No one wants to see my stretch-marked size 16 self, not even me.”

    I definitely think there’s safety in numbers. I’d do this if my mom friends did it with me, but doing it alone seems even scarier.

    1. Katie I really hear you and really understand. I too was heavy even before getting pregnant and I’m no where close to my pre-baby weight. I’m insecure about it too but something about doing this photos with my gal pals was really empowering. Just know that I hear you and I understand. xo

  4. Dena- that is tempting!!! I think this is an example of “safety in numbers” in many ways. If you aren’t alone with the mirror, the camera, etc., it’s much easier. It shouldn’t be like this, but it is, at least for me. It is really CRAZY how much we want to hide all evidence that we created a new human being or two!!!

  5. This is why the Goddess Party was so important!!! It was so much fun, and freeing to DO IT TOGETHER!!! If you want to hold a Goddess Party, email me! I will come to your houses and ply you with wine and compliments!

  6. This post made me cry. Yes, WHAT would that world look like??!!! I have to say that doing this photo-shoot has given me something to be accountable to ~ I’ve been to the beach quite a few times the past 2 weeks and each time I really cringe at baring myself in my bikini…but I know if I don’t I’ll feel like a big, huge hypocrite. So, I wear my bikini and try not to feel self-conscious…but do I feel FREE in my body? Not yet….

    1. Small steps Kate – right? I think it’s completely OK and understandable that even though you did the godddess shoot, you still struggle with body image. I think we all do – how can we not when we are surrounded by messages telling us we aren’t good enough because we don’t look a certain way? In our culture, no one is immune so don’t be so hard on yourself.

      If this was a society that valued women of all sizes and shapes you woudn’t even think twice about wearing your bikini at the beach. But that’s not the society we live in – but hopefully through our small steps we can get there. xo

  7. Thank you for challenging others to partcipate in this movement. It’s one thing to see us on TV and say, Good for them, that’s how we should all be; it’s another thing entirely to take a deep breath and do it yourself, too.

    This makes me want to replace my weather-destroyed “Start a revolution: stop hating your body” bumpersticker with a new one. I mean….it really would be revolutionary, no?

    1. Heck yes Christa! I think it’s a perfect time to replace that fabulous bumper sticker!

      Oooo maybe we should buy some of these and give them out to each person who submits a photo!

  8. I have pictures! I just have to transfer them from camera to computer and send them in. I have the day off tomorrow and should be able to make that work.

  9. Thank you Michelle. I love the picture you paint of a world in which post baby bodies are celebrated and not abhorred. I am so proud of how I look 12 weeks post partum and yet I am still so embarrassed by my body. I will continue to read your post and am determined to submit my photo sooner than later. Love you and all you stand for.

    1. I can say this because I know you personally, you are HOT!. You should be proud of how you look but it’s also totally understandable why you’d feel embarrased by your body. Read my response to Kate below – I think it applies here as well. Love you!

  10. I really want to submit my photo, you probably dont even realize how badly I want to be a strong woman who isn’t ashamed or afraid. But my reality is I an deeply afraid and ashamed. I struggle daily with it and I am already down 25lbs which I should be celebrating but I’m not it’s not enough and not good enough. I wish it were. I sometimes say hey I’ll just do it and it will make me feel empowered! But I don’t! Maybe I will someday!

    1. Jen I actually COMPLETELY understand, I really do. When you’re ready, we’ll be here for you to submit your photo. xo

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