In case you missed our recent media blitz, our Goddess Gathering blog post (written by Dena) went viral a few weeks ago. It amazes me to know that the simple act of taking off our shirts and baring our post-baby bodies was so revolutionary that it gained world-wide attention. And it gained that attention rapidly and fiercely. What that says to me is that women across the globe struggle to feel good about their bodies – and that struggle is particulary difficult for mothers.

It’s so hard to see thin & beautiful celebrities and models everywhere you look. Women in general can be incredibly hard on ourselves (I speak from vast personal experience) and often times we compare ourselves to the images we see. Society has been telling us for a long time that to be beautiful we must be thin. Argue with me all you want about this but I do blame the media & big business. Women ourselves didn’t just one day come up with this crippling notion that if we aren’t a size 0, 2 or 4 we’re ugly and imperfect. We are sold this idea everywhere we look and it’s not by accident (and it’s hard to remain unaffected – I myself struggle with body image issues).

The way businesses advertise to pregnant women is a great example of this. How many ads do you see in pregnancy related magazines for stretch mark prevention oils & lotions? How about that postpartum belly wrap endorsed by Kourtney Kardashian (or the dozens of knock-offs) that are supposed to get your hips back into place after giving birth? It’s almost like we’re being told that post-baby bodies shouldn’t show ANY signs of past pregnancies. Oh wait, that is EXACTLY what we’re being told.

Let’s really think about this.

What if we embraced our stretch marks and weren’t afraid of them? What if we were happy that after giving birth our hips spread out beautifully? What if we truly loved and appreciated all that our bodies did to help bring our children into the world?

I’m serious, what WOULD happen?

First of all, big businesses wouldn’t get to profit off making us feel badly about ourselves because we’d have no use for their “beauty” products. And maybe, just maybe, we would see more realistic looking women in advertisements and magazines. But MOST of all, can you imagine how beautiful of a world this would be? Can you imagine how much more time & energy we would each have if we just stopped pressuring ourselves to look a certain way?

I’m not saying it’s as easy as flipping a switch and turning off the internal and external pressure we feel to be thin – but we have to start trying. Our Goddess Gathering photo shoot was one small step to saying “fuck your fascist beauty standards.” We’ve created our very own “Goddess Gallery” that we devoted an entire website to because we feel it’s THAT important. So far, despite all the media attention and thousands of website hits this new website has garnered, only 3 people have sent in their own Goddess photo. THREE people.

I’ve had so many people tell me that they couldn’t do it – they just can’t take off their shirts and show their post-baby belly & body. I’m willing to bet that if we changed our rules and said we’d accept photos without people’s faces we’d get a lot more submissions, but we won’t do that. The whole point is to feel better about ourselves as a whole – to embrace our bodies as they are, right now. It’s incredibly sad, and it breaks my heart, that there aren’t more women excited and willing to add their photo to our gallery.

I simply wish, and hope, that through our work, more of you will feel empowered, beautiful, worthwhile and valued – no matter what the scale says.

My dream is that someday this whole post will seem completely ridiculous. That it will be incredibly silly to consider taking off our shirts to be revolutionary. But to get there we need to be open with each other about what our bodies really look like because it’s a powerful way to combat the media images we are constantly presented with.

In the words of Ani DiFranco, “‘I know there is strength in the differences between us and I know there is comfort where we overlap.” Let’s begin celebrating our different body types and I know for sure, we’ll all find immediate comfort.