Did you see the recent viral video in which a woman stood in the middle of a busy street wearing nothing but a bikini and asked people to draw on her body?
A couple of years ago, Amy Pence-Brown, the woman in this video, began the “Boise Rad Fat Collective,” a Facebook community founded upon the principle that “all bodies are good bodies.” Naturally, Amy and her friends were intrigued by a social experiment designed by The Liberators International to promote self-acceptance. They had a young woman who had struggled with an eating disorder stand in London’s Piccadilly Circus in her underwear and ask people to draw hearts on her body.
When Amy and her friends saw this video, they couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if they conducted the same experiment, but with some changes. The woman in the video was very small. What if, instead, she was overweight like Amy is? The woman stood in cosmopolitan London. What if, instead, she stood in a more conservative area such as Amy’s hometown, Boise, Idaho?
On August 29, 2015, Amy went to an outdoor market in Boise and took off her dress.
For a full hour, people not only drew hearts all over Amy’s body, but also wrote her loving messages, thanked her for her example, and gave her hugs. It was an emotional hour, both for Amy and for everyone who witnessed what she was doing. In case you haven’t seen this video and would like to, I have included a link at the end of this article.
Amy’s video is only one example of the many creative ways people are working to expand our concept of beauty. Although we still have a long way to go before we eradicate the narrow mindset that you have to look a certain way to be beautiful, we are headed in the right direction. By celebrating bodies of all types, people are trying to instill in our culture the truth that all bodies are beautiful.
To expand our concept of beauty to its true dimensions, however, we must go beyond including all body types in this concept. We must remember that physical beauty is not limited to physical appearance. We are beautiful, not only on the outside, but also on the inside.
When we think of interior beauty, we tend to focus on non-physical concepts. For example, we often honor someone’s interior beauty by admiring their personality, talents, attributes, and dreams. These immaterial qualities are indeed an important part of our interior beauty, and even make us more beautiful on the outside. As Audrey Hepburn famously said, “I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.”
Nevertheless, we must also appreciate the fact that our interior selves also have a physical component: our fertility. A woman’s fertility is made up of the intricate aspects of her biology that help make her, well, a woman. Our fertility is a beautiful part of who we are, and it is high time we celebrate it.
Like Amy, let’s strip! Let’s uncover the beauty of our fertility and present it to the world as something to be appreciated and cherished. We can begin this task by learning about how our bodies work. A great way to do this is to learn about Fertility Awareness and Natural Family Planning. These methods teach us, not only how our bodies operate, but also how our bodies communicate this information to us. When we have this information, we are empowered to work with our bodies. Our fertility is not something external to us that we must manipulate or defeat—it is a part of who we are.
Amy was overwhelmed with joy when society accepted and celebrated her beautiful body. All women deserve to be accepted by society as we are, beautiful on the both the outside and the inside. And even when we can stand, naked and not afraid, armed with the knowledge of our fertility, we will discover that our bodies still remain beautiful mysteries.
To view Amy’s video, please follow this link: https://vimeo.com/138170379