You may have noticed that around 99.9% of underwear ads feature women and men with sculpted bodies and zero blemishes. You also probably know that those ads in no way represent the majority of human bodies.
Brenda DeRouen, a mom from Texas, was tired of feeling embarrassed about her body, so she posed in Calvin Klein underwear to prove to women that they can love and appreciate their bodies no matter their size or features. Because the perfect body just doesn’t exist.
The 26-year-old mom has struggled to accept her belly after gaining stretch marks from the birth of her now 8-year-old son. She explained on her blog: “I turned away when dressing in front of others, and wouldn’t chance doing the dirty with the lights on… For years I dealt with not loving myself. I was self-conscious in relationships and I hated how my body looked.” So DeRouen found Deun Ivory, a photographer she had never met, and stripped down to her Calvin Klein underwear and bra as a way to set herself free and feel empowered.
A photo posted by deun ivory. (@deunivory) on Apr 19, 2016 at 11:47am PDT
“We all have flaws and insecurities,” she wrote. “Yet, we continue to all allowed the media to take the what’s ours and mold it into something that’s unrealistic. Your body is yours. You have to live with it, so get used to it.”
Hello body, I haven’t appreciated you much lately. I haven’t acknowledged your beauty and your marvelous wonder. I am proud of you. For all that you have endured. For all that you have overcome, and for continuing to keep me strong & alive. I love you. And just like any other body you are worthy of appreciation, flaws and all. http://ohbrenda.com/love-your-body/ #melanin #ohbrenda #blackgirlsrock #positivity #live #love #bodyimage #motherhood #stretchmarks #mycalvins
A photo posted by Brenda DeRouen (@_ohbrenda_) on Apr 20, 2016 at 10:29am PDT
DeRouen’s image looks very similar to an ad that Kendall Jenner did for Calvin Klein, and perhaps the subtle recreation of the photo is exactly the point. Body acceptance is challenging for everyone — women, men, people of all body types. It’s easy to feel inadequate when we’re faced with a barrage of photoshopped images in the mainstream media and social media.
A photo posted by deun ivory. (@deunivory) on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:03pm PDT
“You may not have stretch marks from pregnancy, hell; you may not have stretch marks at all,” DeRouen wrote. “But I guarantee you there is something that you are struggling with. Whether it’s your weight, your hair, or your breast size. Just know that there is no such thing as a perfect body. Most pictures that you see nowadays are photo-shopped and edited anyways. You are beautiful. Every scar and every imperfection, has a story that makes you uniquely you. Your body is your temple. Embrace it and show it the love and attention that it needs. Never let anyone make you feel like your body is not worthy of appreciation.”
We could not agree more.