Studio News

HipCircle_Body Positivity_082216_Group6Shorts.  When was the last time you wore a pair of shorts?  If you’re a woman (or girl), society seems to think there are rules around this particular garment: how short is too short, which body types “should” wear them, what fit is “acceptable.”  They’re becoming a lot like bathing suits!  It seemed right to have them be the focus for this year’s Body Positivity Photo Shoot.

AwesomeShortsPart of the inspiration for this year was my own reaction to the current trend of shorts so short they’re almost not there.  I found myself doing some policing of my own (though I had the presence of mind to keep my thoughts to myself) and realized the error in my ways.  It is not up to me to decide what is ok for others to wear!  I decided to do the scary thing and put on a shorter-than-previously-comfortable pair of shorts and see how the day went. It was an interesting experience to be sure.  I had to talk myself out of going home to change several times throughout the day.  I forced myself to walk around out in the world instead of hiding out at home or the studio.  I challenged myself by making eye contact with strangers.  I made it through the day and emerged with a new understanding of how empowering something as “simple” as wearing a pair of shorts can be.

Last year, a group of brave women gathered on the beach for a bathing suit photo shoot.  This year, a different group of brave women gathered in the middle of Fountain Square for a photo shoot in shorts.  So much thanks to Rachel Lee Oftedahl for being our wonderful photographer!

HipCircle_Body Positivity_082216_Group4

Here they are, in all their shorts-wearing glory.  Look at them.  Read their words.  Put on a pair of shorts and give it a try yourself.

***

Cara

What pulled you to come out for the photo shoot?

CaraI realized the minute you said the photo shoot was for shorts…that I needed to be there!

I have been shining a light on the places I may not be loving myself…and there were a few body image places that have come up…one of them is my legs! I am getting free of that mindset…and loving all my parts…

How did you feel during the day leading up to the shoot?

I had some nerves…about it…but it was not nearly as hard as buying the shorts on Thursday…

How did you feel doing the individual photos?

I felt Beautiful and free in the pictures!!

How did you feel doing be group photos?

I felt camaraderie and a deeper sense of comfort and body love being there with beautiful women who were all living our bodies!

Other thoughts?

I’m SO glad I participated in this!!

Did doing the photo shoot have an impact on how you feel about yourself/your summer fashion plans/or anything else?

I will own AND wear shorts from now on.

They are SO much cooler for my body too!!! I’ve been wearing capris for years!!!!

What was I doing!???

***

Carey

What pulled you to come out for the photo shoot?

I was excited about the photo shoot when I received the Facebook invitation and saw that Malik was organizing and that Rachel would be the photographer. A friend of mine had recently been part of a similar photoshoot in another city, and I thought it seemed like a great idea. Then I saw that the focus of the photo shoot would be shorts. I hadn’t worn shorts in public in about 15 years, and even back in my occasional shorts-wearing days, I would usually avoid shorts in favor of jeans, no matter how hot the temperature. I was surprised at how quickly my attitude about the event changed–from, “Yay, body positivity!” to “OMG, wearing shorts in public? No way!” That’s when I knew I DEFINITELY had to come.

How did you feel during the day leading up to the shoot?

I was nervous off and on during the day. I also had to buy shorts (thanks, Target clearance rack), and when I found a pair I didn’t hate, I bought them quickly, without even trying them on, so that I wouldn’t be able to chicken out once I saw myself in them. My plan was to stop home after work, change into the shorts, and immediately get back in the car and drive downtown, with no time to talk myself out of it. That’s what I did.

How did you feel doing the individual photos?

Surprisingly, not nervous. I’ve spent the last few years doing a lot of music Careyperformance, on stage and in videos, and I’ve become more comfortable in my body as a result. I deliberately chose a few standing poses that felt fun and powerful, and a sitting pose that highlighted my knees and thighs, aka the body parts I’m usually hoping to hide by avoiding shorts. It felt good to acknowledge my anxieties about my body and then push through them.

How did you feel doing be group photos?

The group photos were fun! Malik had great pose ideas, and I liked getting to spend a little time with the other women who were participating.

Did doing the photo shoot have an impact on how you feel about yourself/your summer fashion plans/or anything else?

I walked through downtown Evanston in shorts, and I did not die of embarrassment, nor did anyone who saw me die of exposure to cellulite/knobby knees/pigeon toes. This feels both empowering and reassuring. Even if shorts never become a regular part of my wardrobe again, the photo shoot was an empowering experience.

***

Carrie

What pulled you to come out for the photo shoot?

I like to support my community and friends as much as possible.  Although I personally love wearing shorts, I know that’s not the case for everyone and I wanted to hear other women’s perspectives.  I know you were looking for an assortment of real women, who embrace our imperfections and personality as part of our story and journey.  One of my legs is atrophied and has severe nerve damage.  It looks notably different from the other one, and I can’t put a lot of weight on it.  I didn’t want to hide that.  I had a therapist once tell me to try to have empathy for any part of my body that is suffering, instead of judge it or get angry.  I try to focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t do as much as possible.

How did you feel during the day leading up to the shoot?

CarrieI was in a lot of pain all day.  I honestly was seriously considering not going.  I reminded myself that my physical body is only a small part of who I am.  Connecting with people, helping others, being part of a group, makes me feel more whole.

How did you feel doing the individual photos?

It was fun!  The photographer encouraged us to be as confident as possible, and although I was aware that I was standing lopsided, I tried to focus on other things.  I felt a little self conscious coming up with a pose.  I didn’t know what to do.  I was worried about doing it “right.”  I had to remind myself there was no right or wrong.  It’s all good.

How did you feel doing be group photos?

I loved being around the other women.  There was great energy in our little group.  It was nice to be a part of it, especially knowing that many of them were out of their comfort zone.  Being together helped us all build each other up.

Other thoughts?

I’m sure nobody walking by thought, “hmm, all those women are wearing shorts.  I wonder if this is a photo shoot about shorts.”  Nobody noticed at all.  We’re so self conscious about ourselves, but the truth is most other people are so focused on themselves they don’t notice little things like what other people are wearing.  We should feel confident wearing whatever makes us feel comfortable.

Did doing the photo shoot have an impact on how you feel about yourself/your summer fashion plans/or anything else?

I felt great when I left!  It’s always fun to connect with other people, especially such an awesome group  of women.  We need to continue to build each other up and focus on the positive stuff instead of worry about the unimportant stuff.

***

Donna

What pulled you to come out for the photo shoot?
I did the photo shoot last year and loved being with other women and just feeling beautiful in my own skin.  I was also motivated by a particular milestone, too.  This past summer, I was really motivated to get healthier after getting some blood test results back, and I woke up every morning at 5:30am and worked out – whether it was 6am Pilates or running with friends or lifting weights in the gym.  Even on my ‘off day’ I would go for a walk in the park and play Pokemon Go at 6am.  Once I dropped the goal of trying to lose weight and just be healthier, I did the following two things: #1 – I can now lift heavier weights during a workout and #2 – for the first time in four years, my blood sugar level is no longer pre-diabetic but in the normal range!!  I wanted to celebrate and capture what that looks like for me.

How did you feel during the day leading up to the shoot?
I was excited to see fellow Hip Circle friends and I knew that we were going to have a goofy and fun time celebrating us.

DonnaHow did you feel doing the individual photos?
I started off with the superwoman pose and felt that physically and mentally set me up to be strong.  I was a little nervous about posing solo.  As a mom, I’m almost always the one behind the camera or like hiding in a photo with my kids.

How did you feel doing be group photos?
So good.  I couldn’t stop laughing!!  Usually in a group photo, I like to duck out and hide in the back but this time, we were all positioned in a way that there was no hiding behind other people.  And I was totally fine with it!

Other thoughts?
I hope that this continues to become tradition!!

Did doing the photo shoot have an impact on how you feel about yourself/your summer fashion plans/or anything else?
This photo shoot captured the culmination of a summer of a lot of hard work of exercise that I hope is a lifestyle change for good!  Maybe it’s capturing a summer that was a turning point for me.

***

Kaitlyn

What pulled you to come out for the shoot?

I love events with the Hip Circle Studio women. This studio helps me feel comfortable with who I am in my body and feel included in a community. Being involved with a Body Positivity photo shoot is a way of being a part of something larger than myself. It is way of doing something meaningful that will, hopefully, have a positive impact on someone else. I am doing this to show that all women deserve to be comfortable and included.

How did you feel during the day leading up to the shoot?

HipCircle_Body Positivity_082216_Kaitlyn4I purchased my first pair of shorts this summer; never have I been confident enough to wear shorts in public until now, so picking my attire was super easy. Other than that, there wasn’t much for me to think about leading up to the shoot…

How did you feel doing individual photos?

I had fun with it and let myself be a little creative. I knew it was no use worrying; the photos would either turn out or they wouldn’t. Besides, like the beauty of a sunset, the beauty of a human can be quite difficult to capture.

How did you feel about the group photo?

Ugh. My arms. I tend to fret over my arms in group photographs. They always get in the way. Luckily I was with a lovely group of women and we had a good time. We had fun. It was silly.

Other thoughts?

We are all so different

It’s what makes us unique.

   Why can’t women be human

Without any critique?

Your beauty flows from within.

***

Lizzie

What pulled you to come out for the photo shoot?

Two things — 1) the swimsuit event last year looked like a blast, and 2) My ears are now fine-tuned to the negative self-talk of the women in my life, and it reminded me how important it was to amplify the love-yourself message in the world outside of Hip Circle Studio.

How did you feel during the day leading up to the shoot?

Mostly worried about whether I had any shorts – also curious about how I would feel on the day of the shoot, how crowded Fountain Square would be on a Monday at rush hour, and whether folks would be curious enough to ask what we are up to.

How did you feel doing the individual photos?Lizzie

Just fun — the vibe was so relaxed and all the women were so wonderful and enjoying the day. I am hoping that’s what I see in the pictures.

How did you feel doing be group photos?

Again fun — even more so than the individual ones. We were all in this together 🙂

Other thoughts?

I loved what Kaitlin said about people being like sunsets — outrageously beautiful and almost impossible to capture in a picture.

Did doing the photo shoot have an impact on how you feel about yourself/your summer fashion plans/or anything else?

In truth, I will still wear my skirts since they are more comfy, but I will be more aware of my own hang ups when it comes to other women’s choices, and will be more likely to speak up if I hear someone else being negative about the same.

***

Malik

What pulled you to come out for the photo shoot?

I had to take my own medicine since it was my idea in the first place!  I also wanted to create a space for women to break out of the fear/avoidance cycle in a supportive way so we can ALL feel good in our own skin however we choose to dress that skin up.

How did you feel during the day leading up to the shoot?

MalikI felt pretty good!  I had to think about how short I was willing to go and that took up some brain space.

How did you feel doing the individual photos?

Strong!  It felt like a big deal to be doing the shoot at all, and I was proud of myself for going big by wearing small shorts.  That feeling of power squashed any nerves I might have felt and gave me the confidence to try to get shorts-wearing passerby to join us for the shoot.  None did, though I think the asking may have made an impact.

How did you feel doing be group photos?

Awesome!  We played around and it felt incredibly normal – a miracle!

Other thoughts?

I kept thinking about how many women needed to be out there with us that weren’t.  I’m hoping that they find this post and gather their own circle of women to go out into the world in shorts (or whatever article of clothing feels “off-limits” to them) and get a taste of the feelings we had.

Did doing the photo shoot have an impact on how you feel about yourself/your summer fashion plans/or anything else?

YES!  I’ve worn shorts out loud and out proud a few times already since the shoot, and I intend to continue to do so until the weather turns.  When summer returns I will, G-d willing, wear them again.  It’s not easy to go against the grain when it comes to anything relating to body image.  I’m doing it anyway.

***

HipCircle_Body Positivity_082216_Group5

Share

So, what do you think ?