Embrace Yourself

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Last month I ventured to Tunbridge Wells Odeon to see Embrace, a social impact documentary that explores the issue of body image. I first came across Embrace a few months back when one of my friends posted about having seen it at a screening in Suffolk. She recommended it very highly due to its subject nature of body awareness and the importance of self-love. I was eager to see it, but screenings were limited as it relied on people requesting to host one and get enough people for it to go ahead. I was pleased to see that there was one in Tunbridge Wells at the beginning of July so I booked a ticket and took myself off on a date.

I think the reason that it resonated so much with me is that I have already done a lot of work with Free Being Me. This programme was created by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Dove to empower girls through improving body confidence and self-esteem and is available to Brownie and Guide units throughout the UK. By completing the fun and engaging activities on offer, girls and young women learn that body confidence and self-esteem come from valuing their bodies, standing up to social pressures and supporting others to be more body confident.
Credit: Girlguiding
One of the activities we do as part of Free Being Me is to think about three parts of our body that we like because of what they can do and watching Embrace reminded me of this. I realised that I was not unhappy with the way I look. What I really want it to feel better. When I was walking a few miles before work every morning I felt so much better and from now on I will focus on how I feel more than how I look.

I left the cinema with a fire in my belly and in that moment I decided that I wouldn't worry so much about what the numbers on the scales at Slimming World each week or fitting into a particularly size dress in time for my friend's wedding. Instead I would work on improving my fitness and I decided the best way of doing that would be to sign up for a long distance walking challenge knowing that I would have to get my arse and train off for it. And it means I will get my Platinum Body Magic certificate at Slimming World too. Woohoo for shiny stickers!
Credit: Body Image Movement

I also left knowing that I wanted more people to see this film. In my opinion every man, woman and child should see this film. The message is so important and if you start challenging your own body negativity then that will start to filter through to those around us. I looked into hosting a screening at a local cinema, but little did I know that an even more exciting opportunity was about to arise.

At the end of last month Taryn and the rest of the BIM Team launched Embrace: The Union Project. The aim is to find 2,000 individuals, businesses and organisations to purchase a single screening licence of Embrace and host a screening in the UK. Once this target has been achieved, the Body Image Movement will create an Embrace Education Study Guide and make it available to all secondary schools across the UK for FREE! 
Credit: Body Image Movement
As I type this I can already hear the protests of, "But there's already too much on the curriculum as it is. It's not necessary." However, it's hard to ignore the need when you find out that nine out of 10 British teenage girls are unhappy with their bodies and one third of males would sacrifice a year of their life to achieve the "ideal" body. And with the issue of body confidence consistently appearing in Girlguiding's annual Girls' Attitudes Survey, it is an issue that is clearly at the forefront of the minds of young people throughout the UK. These concerns need to be addressed urgently.
Credit: Girlguiding
Embrace: The Union Project will run until the end of November so if you would like to get involved with my screening plans, you can contact me using the links to the right. Alternatively you can find out how to host your own screening here

Please don't think that you have to fill an entire cinema screen with people. Screenings can take place in local village halls, libraries, sports halls - basically, wherever you can set up a projector and screen. I have seen people host successful screenings with comfy cushions strewn across the floor. You can charge for entry and any profit can go towards your favourite charity or even ploughed back into the amazing work that the Body Image Movement does. I have even heard of someone getting a few friends round for a girls' night in and splitting the cost between them. There are so many ways of achieving this target.

If hosting a screening is not your thing then you may also consider gifting a licence to a local organisation. Many schools, Guide and Scout groups, youth groups and many other organisations would love to be able to share this film with their members, but are not able to afford the cost.

Remember that every screening licence sold is one step closer to EVERY secondary school in the UK having access to invaluable materials that will help to improve the confidence and self-esteem of millions of students across the country. However you are able to help, even if it is just sharing news of this project or any screenings that are taking place in your area, can help.

"Every precious drop of change has a ripple effect on the ocean." - Trudy Vesotsky

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