“The bodies don’t need to change. The attitude does.”
Finally, a large American company took a step towards making that change. JC Penney’s new #HereIAm video, which promotes its collaboration with designer Ashley Nell Tipton, features five incredible fat women who are living their lives with abandon.
Sadly, as is all too common, they were not always encouraged to do so.
“I remember when I was 10 I wanted to be a singer, and I remember a family member telling me, ‘Sorry kid, it’s not gonna happen for you,’” says Mary Lambert. Each woman shares similar stories — how she felt out of place, restricted, unattractive, and dissuaded from doing what she wanted to do because of her size.
Lambert is now a two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Ashley Nell Tipton was the season 14 winner of Project Runway and the first contestant to showcase a plus-size collection. Jes Baker is a bestselling author, Gabi Fresh is a fashion blogger and designer, and Valerie Sagun is a yoga practitioner, teacher, and self-love enthusiast.
From these big, incredible achievements to the simpler things that many people believe fat people can’t do, like wearing a bikini or bright colors, rock climbing, and traveling the world, this video inspires viewers to find their passion and follow it, no matter what their size.
It reminds us that self-love is a choice. And not always an easy one — we’ve all felt that we’d be happier, that our lives would really begin once we achieved the perfect body. But many of us have learned that the perfect body doesn’t actually exist, and loving yourself, as explained in the video, is a journey rather than a destination. As Fresh says, “You can be confident and feel good in your skin right now.”
Finally, the video shows how crucial it is to change the narrative surrounding fat bodies.
“Would my life be better if I was thinner?” asks Jes Baker. “No. But it would be better if I wasn’t treated so poorly because I’m not.”
This video is filled with so much truth, so many incredible quotes and images, and is exactly the type of manifesto we can get behind!