Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham
by: MB Gaines
I think I discovered body positivity at a young age, but we didn’t have the language yet. I remember always being pretty unapologetic and wondering why that bothered folks so much. I officially discovered BP in 2012 or 2013, when I was 23. It forever changed me to see women who looked like me wearing, and doing what they wanted with their bodies. I knew I wasn’t alone. I started meeting people online from all over the world who thought like I did.
One of my biggest challenges, and something I still struggle with, is people just won’t get it. No matter how hard you try, and no matter how many times you explain. I have had to remind myself that this is a daily process, and not a quick fix. There are good days and bad days, and that is okay. That is a part of the process. Radical self-love isn’t for everyone, and I had to come to terms with that. Sometimes it’s more comfortable for people to stay in the same comfort zone they’ve always been in. The difference between us is that we are comfortable to grow and change daily. When you start to realize that our first thoughts are conditioned, and the next thought is how you really feel, you stop judging others as harshly, and then you can apply that to yourself. That’s the beauty of it. We are all in this together and some days will be better than others. All we can do is try our personal best daily and stay open for change. It is easier said than done.
Birmingham has been so overwhelmingly supportive of BBofBham and the radical self-love/body-posi movement. I am so proud of my hometown of being super open and receptive to us. I think a lot of folks identify with what we do. Everyone has struggled with one thing or another. Some people struggle more often than others, but at the end of the day it is simply fucking hard to exist sometimes. It is hard getting out of bed some days, and I wanted to start a real conversation about that. I feel like folks are just starting to realize that radical self love and body-positivity is more about social justice than anything.
I think our zine is going to benefit our community by helping answer some very valid questions and explain a lot of things to some folks who may not be aware. We want to educate folks on what radical self-love and body-positivity really is while highlighting all the areas that these umbrella terms cover. Whether it is conversations about gender, racism, body-shaming, or feminism, they are all connected. We hope people will submit artwork and stories so we can make being progressive fun. We can have real conversations about the current world we live in and how its rapidly changing as fast as we are.
I feel like if we took the time to understand and be respectful to others, we could all work together and actually make our society progressive and healthy. We can all do better and I think that is exactly what our zine has the potential to do. Enlightening folks with art and literature in a collaborative way.