"I'm not hot enough!" We might not always say it out loud, and instead of "hot," we might use the word "skinny" or "pretty" or "toned." Whatever word you use, I know that I am not the only one who has destructive thoughts about personal body image at times. And while I think we all know deep down that we're being hard on ourselves, these thoughts often hold us back. The destructive thoughts hold us back from wearing a bikini to the beach without a coverup, from having our picture taken without making a silly face and from allowing ourselves to feel beautiful without hiding it. My friend Iman Woods is a strong believer in empowering women through photography, and I knew writing this blog post for Bodybinds would be the perfect opportunity for me to do the same. I wanted to show both the women who modeled for me and the readers of this blog that the inner critic is wrong and that we are allowed to feel beautiful. But I also expected to have a hard time finding volunteers. I was wrong. When I posted on Facebook that I needed women to pose for me wearing Bodybinds, my phone blew up with notifications from friends and strangers who all wanted in. It didn't matter that the modeling was unpaid, that the pictures would be posted online, that the time and location was inconvenient for many. I even had one friend drive a two hour round trip for a five minute photo shoot, and she explained it best:
Posing in any state of undress is for many considered taboo, and having the pictures shared online even more so. Yet by putting on Bodybinds lingerie and allowing me the opportunity to take their picture, sixteen brave women allowed themselves to feel beautiful, and they are letting you see their beauty as well.
"When I saw your post I thought that I could never do something like that. And so I had to."
These are the results.