I’d like to take a moment to step onto my soapbox to talk about why I’m so passionate about body positivity in boudoir photography!
How did you learn & experience “beauty” & define “beautiful” while growing up?
I would argue that almost all of us grew up looking at magazines & seeing these impossibly rail-thin, pore-less, blank-faced models with perky everything as the ideal standard of a “beautiful woman.”
It’s an endless cycle! These distorted images of perfection were thrust upon us, & continue to, setting a benchmark that’s not only unrealistic but also reductive.
And where did that leave us!?
They have trapped many in a maze of self-doubt, always feeling a step behind, a shade less luminous, an inch more flawed. Feeling like we’re constantly falling short of beauty.
Then, since our culture has conflated women’s beauty with worth, we feel like we’re falling short of worthiness.
It has left generations of women stuck on the hamster wheel of yo-yo dieting & anti-aging treatments. Feeling constantly self-conscious & self-critical. It has forced women into the shadows, not fulfilling their dreams.
Ugh – Honestly, it’s SO exhausting.
But! It’s not the only option.
Embracing Body Positivity In Boudoir Photography
We don’t have to let our attention be owned by the restrictive, mainstream body image standards. We can counter them, challenge them & work against them.
Remember, these standards we’ve been bombarded with were manufactured. Crafted, not as a reflection of real-life beauty, but as an unattainable aspiration to keep women in perpetual pursuit. It’s a fabricated illusion, created by industries that profit from our insecurities.
But what happens when we challenge that narrative? When we finally realize that beauty is diverse, subjective, & far more intricate than what those glossy pages depict!
There’s freedom in that realization. Freedom to define beauty on our terms, to embrace our unique features, our laugh lines, & the individual stories written on our faces.
That’s part of what I love MOST about boudoir photography! With boudoir photography, we’re bringing the photographic experience to everyday people. It’s the democratization of art!
We have the opportunity to do something different – to celebrate the wide range of shapes, sizes, shades, & states of the human body.
To not inflict on future generations the mental & emotional turmoil of our body image struggles.
To teach our children that every wrinkle, scar, & stretch mark tells a unique story.
To uplift everyone, ensuring that all bodies feel seen & valued.
To show that beauty comes in many, many forms.
To highlight that all bodies are magnificent chariots.
Through boudoir photography, we can all be pioneers, breaking the chains of conventional beauty standards, & championing diversity. We can actively rewrite the narrative, ensuring that beauty’s vast expanse is recognized & revered.
Celebrating All Bodies
Imagine I am yelling this next part loudly: changing society’s view of bodies will be a grassroots campaign!!! Do not doubt that.
But I have a starting point to share with you! It happens when more & more people choose to show off & celebrate bodies of all shapes, sizes, & colors – which is finally happening!
Photographers & brands hold immense power to redefine societal perceptions of beauty. By showcasing diverse & un-retouched bodies, they make a profound statement: that beauty exists in every form, every shade, every curve, & every scar.
Brands like Aerie & Girlfriend Collective are trailblazers in this movement. Their conscious choice to embrace natural bodies without the guise of retouching is not just commendable but revolutionary. They challenge the status quo, & in doing so, pave the way for other brands to follow suit, leading to a more inclusive & genuine portrayal of beauty.
Us photographers also have a unique role. We capture moments, emotions, & the essence of their subjects.
I admire Teri Hofford, with her distinctive style, who stands out as an embodiment of this movement. Her work isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about capturing the raw & unfiltered essence of her subjects, showcasing their vulnerabilities, strengths, joys, & insecurities. Through her lens, every woman is seen, understood, & celebrated.
I admire everyone who does a boudoir shoot!
Boudoir photography is a transformative experience for many women. Beyond the stunning images, it’s a journey of self-exploration & affirmation. Women who opt for a boudoir shoot often seek more than just photographs; they seek validation, empowerment, & a renewed connection with themselves. It’s an intimate dance between vulnerability & power, where women confront their insecurities & emerge with a rekindled sense of self-worth.
The road ahead might be long & challenging, but with brands, photographers, & individuals championing the cause, there’s hope for a more inclusive & compassionate future.
A Body-Positive Boudoir Experience Can Be Super Empowering
Boudoir photographer’s editing styles seem to be divided among two approaches: the magazine edit & the natural edit.
If you ask me, I don’t see what’s empowering about seeing photos where I’ve been super-photoshopped to have a slimmer waist, bigger butt, more voluminous hair, & uber-smooth skin. The message I get from that is: “You’re beautiful, & sexy, & hot…but only after your undereye circles, wrinkles, & cellulite have been removed on a computer.”
There is NO WAY to live up to the image. Yes, even real models in real magazines like Vogue & Vanity Fair have pimples on their butts, cellulite, & rolls!!
That’s why I’m a huge fan of the natural edit. To showcase your real body as something beautiful, no digital alterations are necessary. I want you to see that you are beautiful & sexy without changing a thing! Body positivity in boudoir photography is a tool to help heal, accept, & love your body.
Let’s tear away from this narrative that has held us hostage for far too long. We are not just faces to be painted & bodies to be sculpted. We are stories, emotions, experiences, & aspirations. We are more than the confines of magazine covers & airbrushed photos. It’s time we championed authentic beauty. Beauty that sees beyond size, age, & complexion. Beauty that celebrates scars, experiences, & the journey of being human.
It will change us individually, which in turn will lead to cultural change. We can’t wait for someone else to permit us to accept ourselves. We have to reach out & grab it. Then share it with others.
Body positivity is changing the world for the better, & I am here for it.