Mom's Body Image Documentary Will Make You Embrace Your Flaws

Elise Solé

Taryn Brumfitt, a 35-year-old Australian photographer and mother of three who acquired Internet fame last year for unapologetically declaring love for her post-baby figure is back in the spotlight with a Kickstarter campaign. Her goal is to create a documentary titled "Embrace" that explores our obsession with body perfection. As of Friday morning, the campaign had raised more than $93,000 of its $188,000 goal.

In May 2012, after having her third child, Brumfitt became a self-described “obsessive” about getting her prepregnancy shape back, working out constantly and even contemplating breast implants and a tummy tuck. Then one day while watching her daughter play, she had a revelation.

“If I go through with this, what am I saying to my daughter about body image?” she wrote on her website. “How will I teach her to love her body? How am I going to encourage her to accept and love her body, when I am standing in front of her with a surgically enhanced body? What type of hypocrite or mother would I be?”

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So she decided to do something she called “crazy:” Enter a bodybuilding competition and get fit the old-fashioned way: Dieting and working out. After four months, Brumfitt looked fantastic; however, “Nothing had changed about how I felt about my body,” she admits in the trailer for "Embrace." She scaled back on her training and her stringent diet of chicken and broccoli, and eventually her body softened.   

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Cut to May 2013: Motivated by the revelation that physical perfection doesn’t always translate into happiness, Brumfitt made a photo composite of herself — one photo featured her wearing a bikini during her bodybuilding days, and the other taken of her body at the time, 20 pounds heavier. She labeled the fitter picture “before” and the heavier picture “after,” although both were taken post-pregnancy. Brumfitt posted the photo on Facebook, where it quickly went viral, racking up 3 million likes. She later drew comparisons to fitness enthusiast Maria Kang (aka, “Hot Mom”) who angered the Internet in October when she posted a photo of her buff post-baby bod on Facebook and captioned it “What’s your excuse?”  

In the trailer for her documentary, Brumfitt describes how public support for her photo prompted her to start the “Body Image Movement,” an online community that encourages women to look beyond excessive airbrushing in the media, to reject the notion that a certain number on the scale makes one healthy, and to embrace diverse body types.

The film will explore Brumfitt’s journey from body loather to body lover, detailing her most humbling moments from sobbing on the bathroom floor to pregnancy-related incontinence, and, finally, posing for that viral photo. The film will also feature women who have undergone similar transformations and chronicle Brumfitt’s goal of getting back into fighting shape. Funds will be used to create the film, including a travel budget for Brumfitt to interview body-positive role models around the world. If her goal is reached, Brumfitt hopes to begin filming this July and debut her film in July 2015.

Yahoo Shine could not reach Brumfitt for comment; however, her efforts come at a time when body acceptance seems to be all the rage. This week, after a New York City shopper snapped a photo of a La Perla mannequin with protruding ribs, Twitter rallied in protest, prompting the lingerie company to remove the mannequin from its store. And after Target featured an overly airbrushed bikini model in the teen section of its website, customers balked, leading the retailer to apologize and crop the offending the image.

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