JC Penney’s new #HereIAm campaign is awesome. It’s awesome, because it’s actually showing successful, beautiful, badass women who aren’t 5’11” and a size 0. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s a lot wrong with the way media portrays women–and only values skinny women. If you’re a mom, it’s especially hard not to feel this pressure when magazines are bombarding us with how to lose all the “baby weight.”
The ad starts off with Jes Baker, the author of “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls,” asking a question:
“Would my life be better if I was thinner? No. But it would be better if I wasn’t treated so poorly because I’m not.”
The ad then moves to different women, who tell their own stories of fat shaming and body discrimination–which is both heartbreaking but also inspiring. All of these women, despite all of the societal hatred they faced, found ways to love themselves, and to do what they love. They show us that we don’t need to look like America’s Next Top Model to be loved, to feel loved, to feel beautiful.
The ad also has cameos by designer and blogger Gabi Fresh, “Project Runway“ season 14 winner Ashley Nell Tipton, grammy nominated singer-songwriterMary Lambert, and yoga practitioner Valerie Sagun. Lambert adds that she was told she wasn’t going to make it as a singer, while Tipton said fat girls can do anything, stating:
“Fat girls can do whatever they want. You can do yoga, you can do rock climbing. Fat girls can run, fat girls can dance, fat girls can have amazing jobs. We can walk runways, we can be on the cover of magazines, wear stripes, bright colors…”
Baker then explains that we all need to confront body shaming, because it happens everyday–and it’s why millions of girls and women suffer from low self-esteem and eating disorders:
“There’s no ignoring this when it walks in the door. That’s a pretty powerful thing for me. Especially when you’ve been taught your entire life that you need to hide, or shrink, or disappear. We’re countering a lifetime of learned hatred.”
This ad is about learning how to accept yourself as you are right now, not who you want to be next week or in five years. Everyone can learn from these women–who are proud to be themselves, as they should be.
As Tipton says, “The only person who should be defining me is me.” No truer words were ever spoken.
Watch the stunning ad below: