Starting the conversation

Embrace is a documentary that encourages everyone to love the bodies they’ve been given

Lenore Mulvaney has watched the trailer for the film, Embrace, more than 100 times.

The Vernon nurse feels so strongly about the documentary that she will continue to watch it, to talk about it, and next week to show it in a special screening she is co-hosting with Susie Helland.

“The documentary is all about body image and loving the bodies we have been given,” said Mulvaney. “We are inundated from media that we are not good enough — I learned that 91 per cent of women hate their bodies.

“This documentary is a must-see for all women and girls.”

Australian filmmaker Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the Body Image Movement, shares her own story of hating her body and doing everything she could to change its shape. Embrace uncovers why poor body image has become a global epidemic and what women everywhere can do to have a brighter future.

The Body Image Movement is on a mission to eliminate: excessive Photoshopping of body images in the media; being programmed by the media and corporations into accepting unrealistic body images; prescribing to the notion that being a certain weight determines whether you’re healthy; sexualization of girls in the media and modern culture; the objectification of women; society and advertising preying on women’s insecurities.

When Helland and Mulvaney met, they immediately clicked and that one meeting led to conversations and the realization that they both had a passion for the topic of body image and getting this documentary to Vernon.

“I was super thin in school but was always told, your thighs are big, so I always thought I was the bigger friend, but I was not big,” said Helland, who works from home with Nucerity. “I had never worked out in my life, I wasn’t a sporty person, but people would ask me, ‘where do you put all that,’ because I had a fast metabolism, but after I had my daughter, I just put on the weight.

“I was unhappy and it just progressed. It’s just exhausting, every single day it’s on my mind all the time and it really stalls me in my life. My issue isn’t about food, it’s about what I look like.”

Helland, formerly a personal trainer and whose daughter is now 18, said the way she looks is always on her mind.

“Just because you are overweight doesn’t mean you sit on the couch and eat Big Macs, for me I eat healthy and I was working out. My body is so messed up from trauma, which raises your cortisol, because I lost my first husband.

“I had been following the Body Image Movement Facebook page for awhile because I remember seeing a picture of Taryn and her before and after picture, and I thought ‘oh wow, she is so brave,’ because it’s on social media. She is saying don’t wait until you’re thin to love yourself because you never will. Be grateful your body is healthy, even if it’s not the right size.”

The mother of a daughter who is now grown, Mulvaney said the emotional impact of watching the trailer as well as the actual documentary has not lessened for her.

“I have seen the trailer over 100 times because I’ve shown it to every woman and girl who would take the time to watch it, and every time I watch that trailer I get emotional and I’ve seen the documentary twice,” she said. “For me it’s about not being good enough. No matter what you are doing, there is always somebody better than you, and I’m tired of not being good enough. But I am good enough and why do we all struggle with that.

“The first thing you do when you look in the mirror is your eyes go right to what you don’t like. What Taryn wants to promote is valuing yourself now. I just think it’s time we stop this fight of not being enough. She wants women and girls to love the bodies they have been given.

“I think about how much your body does for you every day of your life, and when are you going to start appreciating all the things your body does for you. If you weren’t wasting time worrying about your body, what would you be doing with your time.”

Helland said she and Mulvaney had wanted to donate any proceeds from the screening to an eating disorder program, but were unable to connect with one in the North Okanagan.

“We could not find anything or anyone in this town that we could donate to that specializes in eating disorders,” said Helland. “If it’s hard to find somewhere to donate money to, how hard is it for someone who has an eating disorder.”

Instead, the money will go to the Family Resource Centre, which Helland said is actually the perfect fit.

“When we couldn’t find anybody that felt like the right fit, someone had mentioned the Family Resource Centre so I went there and I had an epiphany, because when my first husband passed away, my daughter had counselling there,” she said.

Embrace will be shown Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Centre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the evening includes a song from local singer Anita Baturin, a 50/50, a raffle, and the concession will be open. And, while the event is targeted towards women and girls, Mulvaney stressed that men are invited and encouraged to attend.

Tickets are $15 per person, available through EventBrite at www.eventbrite.ca

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