Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we all deal with body image on a daily basis. It is common for us to berate ourselves for our lack of “thinness” or for not putting on enough weight, and we may even scoff at our bodies if they have curves or none at all. “How to lose 10 lbs in two weeks?” is one of the most popular Google searches, and even people who appear to be in good shape are nevertheless concerned about their appearance. Even worse, some people believe that inflicting physical harm on themselves will increase their self-esteem in times of distress.
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Sometimes we just need to be reminded that it’s good to accept our flaws and shortcomings as much as we accept our skills and abilities. Here are a few films to get you started on the path to self-acceptance:
1. Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
It’s not your typical rom-com, because the lead actress turned down a potential love interest in favor of her best friend, and the film explores themes of gender, class, and abuse. When Muriel (Toni Collette) is still living with her emotionally abusive father in a small town in Australia, she has little choice but to get married to escape her father’s grip. During her search for love, she meets Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths), an outsider just like her. Rhonda ends up being her best friend. Because of their closeness, the two of them ended up in Sydney, where they had new experiences and learned that Muriel is more than just “dumb, overweight, and useless,” as her father likes to refer to her.
2. Real Women Have Curves (2002)
Ana (America Ferrera), an 18-year-old compelled to work in her sister’s clothes factory by her mother, is the protagonist of the film. Lupe Ontiveros plays a manipulative and guilt-inducing role as Ana’s mother Carmen. For her own humiliation at her own corpulence, she berates Ana continuously, and she wants Ana to “suffer” alongside her as a result. Ana gradually accepts that she is both huge and beautiful—big boobs, stretch marks, and all—in the movie.
3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
It appears that the same pair of jeans may accommodate females of all shapes and sizes. The “sisterhood” learned to accept their bodies as a result of this magical pair, and a specific scene in the movie demonstrates it: She said, “We can just tell everybody that Carmen is Puerto Rican and it never occurred to you that she might be built differently” after her soon-to-be-stepmother condescendingly picked out an outfit for her and it didn’t fit.
4. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Big glasses and overalls are Olive (Abigail Breslinsignature )’s look. Everyone in her family was behind her 100 percent when she accepted an invitation to compete in a beauty pageant. They knew she’d do well simply by being herself. “Let Olive be Olive,” they suggested, even though she’s not your standard Barbie.
5. Hairspray (2007)
Everyone knows about this movie now, right? Hairspray touches on racism, body image, and civil rights in equal measure. An outspoken supporter of racial equality plays Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky). For a teenager who is overweight, losing a few pounds isn’t necessary to achieving her goals. Link Larkin (Zac Efron) delivered one of the movie’s most memorable lines, “Tracy, I’m in love with you no matter what you weigh.”
6. Patti Cake$ (2017)
The fat-shaming is over thanks to Patti Cakes. Aiming a shot at Patti was considered as an imminent threat that needed to be dealt with. In a world where everyone expects her to stay in a tiny town for the rest of her life, this story is about a lady who has faith in her own ability and wants to be a rapper. In a society where being a larger woman is seen as a defect, Patti Cake$ “actively frees Patti from the burden of being a bigger woman.”
It is certainly cause for celebration that there has been an upsurge in the number of films and television series featuring good body images. Even though we still have a long way to go, take a seat, pop some popcorn, and enjoy the moment!