By Marina Coletta

Taryn Brumfitt thinks it’s time for women to end the war with their bodies. The mother of three, photographer, and self-described natural storyteller spent nine weeks travelling and interviewing women for her documentary, Embrace, which focuses on teaching women to love their bodies regardless of what they look like. “We are being told to conform to one ideal of beauty and what’s healthy, but we all come in different various shapes and sizes and abilities,” Brumfitt tells FilmInk. “We’ve also forgotten that health isn’t just physical. It’s spiritual, it’s emotional, it’s mental…it’s all those other things as well, but they’re just not valued as much.”

Brumfitt has rallied tens of thousands of men and women to spread the message of what she calls self-love, and with Embrace coming to theatres, that group is likely to grow exponentially. The women interviewed in the film came onto the project in different ways, many of them getting involved on social media or by backing the film’s Kicksterter campaign. German actress, Nora Tschirner, first became involved by donating $8,000 to the fund. While men are allowed and encouraged to become involved, Brumfitt wants it to be clear that she is sharing a story about women. “I try to make it inclusive and not exclusive, but it is a film about my story as a woman and body image and other women’s stories,” Brumfitt says. “I’m sorry guys, it’s not about you. It’s about us.”

The viral before-and-after photos that started it all...
The viral before-and-after photos that started it all…

Brumfitt believes that the harsh judgements of female physicality don’t come from other women, but from the media. “The media like to think that women are all catty and ‘meow’ against each other, and it’s just not my experience,” Brumfitt offers. “I’m surrounded by empowered, powerful, amazing women who lift each other up. It’s what we do best.” Brumfitt thinks that it is important to get the message out, and even to girls as young as five-years-old. “They’ve seen their mum on a diet, and they think that they want to restrict themselves and eat carrot sticks and not eat this food because they don’t want to get fat,” the filmmaker says. “They’re fearful of this ‘fat’ thing. I just don’t think that you can see beauty, and that’s one of my hopes for the film. We can change the currency of beauty where we’re not so fascinated by someone’s thigh gap or by someone’s big boobs or big bum.”

Brumfitt says that the team she worked with made the film what it is. In terms of future projects, she says that she has “so much more to say on the subject of body image…more than I could ever get out in ninety minutes. It will probably lead onto another doco on body image.” While Brumfitt admits that she wouldn’t want to be the focus of the next film, she says that it would be a crime to let her new filmmaking skills go to waste…

Embrace is released in cinemas on August 4.


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