#sizecelebration: Jen Rachid

All photos by Stef Atkinson

All photos by Stef Atkinson

#sizecelebration is a #bossbabesATX series of photos and interviews, featuring women of different sizes in dressing rooms, proudly disrobing to dispel negative body image. These portraits were taken by Stef Atkinson, in conjunction with and in the dressing rooms of SoLa.

So, goodbye, fat-shaming. Goodbye, skinny-shaming. Toodles, crying in dressing rooms. We're done with you.

Q: What's your current occupation?

A: I'm the Director of PR at Raw Paw, Photographer Jinni J, and server.

Q: How old are you?

A: 25 years young!

Q: When did you first become aware of your own size? Was that a positive or negative experience?

A: I think I first became aware of my own size at a young age, probably 10 years old. I was playing soccer on an all-boys soccer team and realized that because I was so skinny (and probably a girl), they thought they could push me around; they thought wrong, though. I would out-run them and leave them in the dust, so that was a positive experience. 

Q: When did you first become aware of others' sizes?

A: Probably around the same time on the soccer field. But I think middle school is when I really started to notice different body types and feel more awkward, like I didn't have to wear a bra until 8th grade, while some girls had to wear one at the onset of 6th grade. Seeing some people hit puberty earlier than myself definitely made body sizes apparent.

Q: As you've grown, what have you determined to be true or untrue about size?

A: That size is relative to how one sees size. And everyone sees size based on their own experience as a certain size and what culture says about size. Insecurities and paranoia does not discriminate—each body type comes with a unique set. I'm what people call skinny or slender, but growing up people would gossip that I must have an eating disorder cause my wrists are so thin, but I just have thin wrists. Some times I look at fuller bodies and I'm like "yeah, that's what I want!" And we're all guilty of wanting what we don't have cause we don't know what it's like, and who doesn't like mystery?

Q: How do you celebrate yourself?

A: I pamper myself before I go to bed, moisturizing my hair and body with coconut oil, sprinkling lavender on my sheets, dry brushing my entire body like I am a horse (I'm not even kidding, and if you haven't tried it, I cannot stress this enough, YOU NEED TO, you'll tingle all over—it is the BEST).

Q: How do you think the world (society, etc.) should change the way it celebrates beauty?

A: Beauty is often seen through a lens of sex. Beauty and wanting to have sex with someone is not the same thing, but often culture makes it seem synonymous. Just recognize beauty everywhere and in everyone and don't sexualize it. Also, magazines with these beauty contests, "The worlds most beautiful people" and "Sexiest Celebrities," I mean, come on! Celebrating airbrushed-to-perfection archetypes (the archetype, also, most often being white) make everyone who isn't represented feel somehow less than.

Plus, we all have people in our lives that are the most beautiful people. Something I am excited about though is we are reaching a point where brands see the value and importance of representing more body types in their campaigns, which will then more and more expand the perceived body type ideal in the U.S. and instead of making women feel paranoid that they the way they are naturally isn't good enough. Although bad for consumerism, I wish that society would make women feel beautiful even without their makeup.

Q: What are some immediate, day-to-day things we can change in our lives to better appreciate our own unique bodies? As well as others'?

A: An action I highly recommend is sleeping nude. This makes you totally more confident in the skin and shape of which you reside. Language-wise, don't be so hard on yourself, we all pick on ourselves because we are in our body all the time, forever, so it becomes very easy to look at what we think are our flaws. So talk to yourself as you would to your best friend. Adore your body and the bodies of others. We are all beautiful, mysterious creatures—take it while you can!

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Q: Why are you participating in this shoot?

A: Well I was flattered and stunned to be asked, and when I was told about the project, it just clicked. Thank you for bringing this into a cultural conversation. Secondly, #bossbabesATX—how I could I say no to y'all's sweet asses! ;)

Q: What does #sizecelebration mean to you?

A: It means fuck yes, I am beautiful, and so are you and so are you and so are you! No matter your big boobs, small boobs, big ass, no ass, thick calves, no calves, rolls and bones—it's loving the body you have. And hey, girl! Damn, you are a knockout!

Jane Claire HerveyComment