I learned of something today on Instagram that I’d never heard of, but would like to weigh in on, if I might…
It’s called the 4th Trimester Bodies project, and it’s composed of mothers who have recently given birth, support, breast feeding, or whose bodies still retain the evidence of having brought life into this world.
Being that this is a project aimed at showing women how beautiful they are by use of photography, at first glance, I am totally for this. Sounds a lot like the be.you.ty project, only more specific, right? Only with a more specific target group, and I like it.
However, the reason I heard about it is because the pictures of these women are beautiful black and whites of them nearly naked, bearing all of their scars, and sometimes, they are topless and breastfeeding; and this has gotten their page banned from Facebook, as well as Instagram.
The outrage all over social networking is because pages like this are getting banned for “inappropriate” material, while there are half naked teenagers and porn sites spamming everyone’s Newsfeeds that seem to go unchecked. And I have to say I agree, I don’t see how what these moms are doing is much different than what our society deems as normal objectification of women and the female body. The only difference is that these are not air brushed, carb deprived Victoria‘s Secret models. These are real women, with real children, and real bodies. And while I completely support their message and the heart behind this project, I want to say something to all of the enraged moms out there that are participating in this:
You don’t need a Facebook page to post pictures of your half naked body (and in some, the naked body of your children) to make you feel beautiful.
Is the world hard on real women? Yes, absolutely. Does it constantly tell us that our bodies aren’t good enough? Yes, it does. Is it wrong? It sure is.
But is posting pictures of you undressed on the World Wide Web going to make it any better? No.
There aren’t enough Facebook ‘likes’ or Instagram ‘double taps’ in the world to make you feel fully beautiful and secure when you are as vulnerable as you are making yourself on the internet. I know this from experience at this point.
I’m a real mom with a real body and I’ve struggle for more than I care to admit with the battle of “my body just isn’t what it used to be.” I have stretch marks, and wider hips, and a tummy that I can shake all I want, but I just can’t shake it.
But for as self-conscious as I get about it, I’ve learned something really important:
I AM BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE OF THOSE THINGS.
NOT DESPITE THEM.
And you know what? You are too.
And you don’t need to sell out your body like every porn star or clueless teen on Facebook to feel that way. There’s nothing that I or Facebook post or any project can tell you to change the way you feel.
If you want to know how beautiful you are? Go to the Creator. He made you-ask Him.
If you want to know the intimacy and tender care in which He crafted each curve, ask Him.
If you want to know how He intended each mark on your body, each change from your youthful physique to be what it is today in order for Him to use you to bring new life into this world – how He used you as an instrument for a miracle – ask Him.
If you want to be confident in your ability and duty to breast feed your child, talk to God about the provision He made in your body to be able to maintain the life He brought forth from you. Ask Him about it, ask Him about it all.
Ask Him and He’ll tell you that you are His masterpiece, artfully crafted in His image to carry, sustain, and bring forth life.
And not until you accept this as truth will you be fulfilled to a point that you know that you know that you KNOW that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. And you’re only MORE BEAUTIFUL in your motherhood.
I am with you ladies of the 4th Trimester Bodies project, in that I also long to use photography to show women that they are beautiful– I love you what you are trying to do for these women. But I have a hard time accepting that posting their pictures on the internet for anyone and everyone to see is not what they need. Take their pictures and let them keep them, and point them to the One who made them the way they are. It’s the only way to find peace and security.
I am praying for your crusade against women objectification to be successful, and that you would find peace and comfort in knowing that you, too, were created in the image and as an instrument of the Almighty God; and in that, also that you might begin pointing these women upward and not only inward or outward.