'Clothes Confident'- Reflections from Body Positivity Seminar

'Get Clothes Confident' took an issue most young women grapple with - our body image. This is often something that limits a lot of young people from living freely and loving their bodies. A study among South Africans aged 15 and up found that almost 85% of participants had a distorted body image – they either over- or underestimate their body size. According to the results, published last year by BioMed Central online journal, close to 45% were “highly dissatisfied” with their body size

As members of the Bumb'INGOMSO Leadership Network, we know how important it is for young women to accept and love their bodies, and we hope to accelerate local women’s emotional growth and relationship to their physical selves through our positivity seminars. We just hosted our second seminar and this Get-Clothes Confident occasion centered around promoting a positive body image, which we did through the following activities:

Yoga/ stretching/ dancing

We integrated a morning yoga, stretching and dancing routine into our schedule, to show our members that exercising can be a lot more fun than the usual gym-sweat-run we’re used to. Starting with warming up and releasing oxygen into the body was a fun ice-breaker, and also promoted an active lifestyle (one that leads a healthy body and a healthy mind. Yoga is often seen as something for smaller bodies but that is far from true. There are plus size yoga enthusiasts disproving this myth.

Makeup tips 
Basic makeup tips were given to different individuals. The make-up was chosen based on their unique skin type and facial features. The aim of the activity was to show participants that they don’t have to cover their face with make-up every day.

It was important to me that everyone had who never seen themselves represented felt like they were on that stage with us. As a black woman, I used to feel like the world wanted me to stay in my little box. And black woman often feel underestimated. I wanted us to be proud of not only the show but the process. Proud of the struggle. Thankful for the beauty that comes with a painful history and rejoice in the pain. Rejoice in the imperfections and the wrongs that are so damn right. I wanted everyone to feel thankful for their curves, their sass, their honesty – thankful for their freedom. It was no rules and we were able to create a free, safe space where none of us were marginalized.” Beyoncé Knowles-Carter on Beychella

Fitting and photoshoot
A designer provided different garments for the participants to fit and put on according to the shape, size, and height of each woman’s body. An individual, partner, and group photo-shoot was done with the outfits chosen around the venue. While this wholesome experience was new for some, the participants came out feeling more confident and empowered than ever.

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Words: Spokazi Tyiwani