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For our latest #DropTheTowel shoot, we thought it was important to tackle the pervasive act of food shaming. While Wear Your Voice has received an outpour of support for our body positive summer campaign, proving that every body is a bikini body, we’ve also received our fair share of criticism from those who claim we are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle (because apparently, only those with a 27 inch waist can declare self love).

[RELATED POST: Drop The Towel This Summer!]

In a recent article, WYV Senior Columnist Rachel Otis addressed the ‘blantly and covertly fat phobic comments’ that flooded the Daily Mail UK’s article covering #DropTheTowel.

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[RELATED POST: #DropTheTowel Rises Above Ignorant Comments]

What’s problamatic about making these sort of assumptions is how far too often we are quick to make generalizations based on one’s appearance. Our campaign serves as a reminder the beauty in diversity–that all bodies are worth celebrating. According to the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, size discrimination is the  4th most prevalent form of discrimination in the U.S.

Fat Americans face discrimination daily. They are denied access and opportunities in the workplace, in health care and in education. Scientific models are used to minimize the individual to a number on a scale or a percent on a BMI chart. A fat American no longer owns their own body, it is a commodity to be ridiculed, marginalized, a cost to be cut. An American citizen is more than a BMI!- via NAAFA

[RELATED POST: Ultimate Guide to Understanding Fat Phobia]

One such form of discrimination comes in the guise of food shame. As someone who has navigated majority of her life in a larger body, there have been times I was ashamed to eat in public for fear of someone objecting to what I choose to put into my mouth. On the adverse, when I choose a salad over a hamburger, I have had complete strangers ( I kid you not)  congratulate me for my commitment to a diet– because I couldn’t possibly love to the fresh taste of leafy greens, tomatoes and carrots.

[RELATED POST: Dear Virgie, ‘My Doctor is Fatphobic”

No one should be policing someone else’s body, what right is it of ours to make assumptions based on someone’s physical state? As the adage saying goes, you never know what someone is going through until you take a walk in their shoes. Take for example a friend who works out daily-sometimes twice a day, is an advocate of slow, healthy cooking, and has been my personal trainer at a point in my own health journey. Doing so all while being a size 16+, facing body discrimination from undeserving men and juggling a demanding and time consuming career. A spinal chord injury that almost left her paralyzed resulted in the need to take medications with the side effect of weight gain-medications she must take to allow her to function and have the quality of life we all deserve to have.

According to National Eating Disorders, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life in the United States. With anorexia being the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, it’s time to end food and body shame once and for all. Take a stand with Wear Your Voice as we #DropTheTowel and continue to celebrate the beauty in each and every one of us.

Photoshoot directed by Monica Cadena. Photographer in charge of this shoot is Suma Jane Dark – whose work can be found on Website and on social media at  TumblrFacebook and Instagram. Make-up and Hair Artist by the talented Bernadette Rose. Stylist for shoot,  fellow WYV writer Laurel Dickman)









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Special thanks to all the models involved in the shoot: Biseat Yawkai, EdianBlair Schofield, Aima Paule, Chelsea Wallau, Jules Wood, Channon May-Brooks, Janira Pelmore, Diane Rhodes, Sarah Rozenwajn-Bowens, Tiphanie Bowens, Kate Sargent, Michelle Cockle Persoft, Rachelle Blaisdell, Sarah Koppenhaven, Jess Rodriquez-Williams, Autumn Duarte and Jessica Diaz-France. 

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Originally from the Bay, I was uprooted from my eclectic surroundings and forced to spend my formative years in conservative San Joaquin County (Stockton) after Loma Prieta. Earthquake central couldn't deter me, and in 2010, I relocated to San Francisco. After a year of not being rich or knowing how to code, I moved to Oakland, where my momma and my momma's momma were born. Oakland has changed A LOT from when I was growing up, and I love getting reacquainted with my roots. Like our city's logo, Oakland grounds me, it's where I've rediscovered myself and unleashed my creativity. If I were a tattoo, I'd be eyes on my eyelids so I can snooze the day without anyone noticing (which I do often.) If I were a street in Oakland, I'd be Skyline Blvd, because, the view. Favorite spot in Oakland? I love it all! But I'd have to say Redwood Regional Park...or Raj Indian in Piedmont.

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