- Body Image Movement
- Embrace's star face Taryn Brumfitt.
When Marah Armijo was 9 years old, her family moved from Mexico to America. It didn't take long for her new country's impossible beauty standards to began worming their way through her self image.
"In my tweens," she says, "I remember just not feeling like I was pretty enough, thin enough. I was always a very healthy girl. I don't consider myself chunky, but because everyone was so thin I was kind of the oddball."
Those feelings didn't fade away; she struggled with self-hatred for years. Now 38, she says she's glad she was able to finally come to love and accept herself. Especially since she has a 9-year-old daughter of her own now.
"I thank God I was able to break the cycle in my early 30s and start loving myself, because it shows in my daughter," she says.
Bombarded by ads and societal pressure from a young age, many women struggle with their body image. The idea that women should be thin and beautiful is so prevalent that even Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has not hesitated to publicly judge women based solely on their appearance, including the Latina beauty queen he dubbed "Miss Piggy" after she gained weight.
Enter the new movie Embrace. Armijo first heard of it in 2014, when it was being funded through a Kickstarter campaign. She was one of 9,000 people to pledge to the campaign. Now complete, the documentary has become a minor sensation across the globe.
The film is the brainchild of Taryn Brumfitt, an Australian mother of three who became famous in 2013 after posting a viral "before and after photo" of herself, in which the "before" showed a typically "perfect" body and the "after" showed her with curves and a bright smile. In the film's trailer, Brumfitt explains that after bearing children she developed severe body image issues. She ended up pursuing a "perfect body" and actually achieved her goal, only to find she was still unhappy. Eventually, she decided she needed to change how she thought about her body.
Brumfitt has transferred that self-realization into her movie, a website (bodyimagemovement.com) and activism through her "Body Image Movement."
Embrace, interestingly, has already run into at least one hurdle. In Australia, the movie was initially given a restrictive rating, which was later downgraded, due to the appearance of vaginal labia in the film. The labia are shown in a segment of the film that addresses the growing popularity of (surgically reducing labia for aesthetic reasons).
Australian media report that the incident was referred to by critics as "vulvagate."
In America, the film is being shown through Gathr Films, a movie-on-demand service. Presuming she persuades at least 60 people to reserve tickets in advance, Armijo will host a local screening at Interquest Stadium 14, 11250 Rampart Hill View, at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16. (To reserve $11 tickets go to: gathr.us/screening/17681.)
Armijo, who is an energy healer and owns her own store, says she hopes enough people sign up for the film — she's looking forward to seeing it herself.
"When I saw her preview," she says, "I just fell in love with it."