It all started when…
I was sitting at my kitchen table with my housemate; we were discussing the article we had just read which described the large number of girls who were undergoing labiaplasty surgery for purely superficial reasons. We felt it was just another example of the powerful influence that society’s narrow, manufactured idea of beauty had on women and girls. The feelings of frustration, anger and sadness felt consuming for me in that moment. I had to do something! I was so tired of hearing this same story of women modifying their bodies to fulfill an unattainable beauty standard. I, personally, had suffered under these same expectations that force girls to undergo expensive, invasive and dangerous surgeries my entire adolescence. I had watched my female friends tortured by eating disorders and silenced by physical prejudices. I was so tired of this being the unrelenting reality for almost every woman I encountered, and I was going to do something about it.
This moment fostered a string of moments that would lead me to the 'girl’s’ section of Readings; a Children's book store in Melbourne. The shop assistant and I stared at each other confused--but not surprised--as we scoured the book store looking for children's books that celebrate diverse bodies and found none. We found books on puberty, a couple on body image which were pink and featured thin, blonde, white girls on the front cover, but nothing that showed--yet alone celebrated--different girls’ bodies. The shop assistant turned to me and said, “If you make this book I'll put it on these shelves.” Eleven months later and I'm about to launch the crowdfunding campaign that will hopefully get this book on those shelves.
Learning to Love Your Body is my first project but it definitely won't be my last. I founded ‘Re-shape Social Enterprises’ to act as my vessel for future projects, community building and activism; all with the ultimate goal of nurturing self-love, self-acceptance and self-confidence in girls. I want to invite you to join me in my mission to promote these three fundamental values by becoming a part of the ‘re-shape’ community.
Jessica Sanders - Founder & Author of Learning to Love Your Body