Body-Positive ‘American Beauty’ Photo Series is an Ode to Diversity

When you think of American Beauty, the image of a naked girl laying on a bed of rose petals is the first one that comes to mind. The shot is from the moment when Kevin Spacey’s character has a sexy dream about his daughter’s best friend. A thin, white, blonde-headed teenage girl turns into the object of a middle-aged man carnal desire.

A different kind of American Beauty

Photographer Carey Lynne Fruth’s body-positive American Beauty photo series is out to show that beauty is far more diverse. The results are stunning.

Body-Positive American Beauty Photo Series - Clapway

In an interview with Clapway she explains why the body-positive movement is important. Fruth believes that the concept is about “radical body love”–loving your body even when everyone else tells you that you shouldn’t.

“It’s about all bodies being shown in a way that is respectful and caring.”

Body Positivity Mantra

According to the San Francisco-based photographer, learning to accept others for who they are is an important step forward for society. It’s no little feat, for sure.

“Too often images of woman of size are shown as disgusting. Images of very thin woman are shown as being sick. Images of woman of color are shown in a stereotypical light. And images of older woman are far and few in between,” Fruth explained.

This is what inspired her to take 14 women of different shapes, sizes and colours, expanding, reinventing the meaning of American Beauty.

Body-Positive American Beauty Photo Series -

“Our world is made up of so many different people. Beautiful people. People that are worthy of representation. Worthy of respect. Worthy of love and self-love. No one should be made to feel that their body is somehow wrong, undesirable. This feeling holds people back. You can’t live up to your full potential if you are always feeling that, because you don’t look like what the media tells you, you can’t be successful. You can’t find love. You can’t love yourself,” Fruth told Clapway.

Shameless Photography

Fruth believes that many accomplishments have been made toward moving forward with body inclusiveness. Photo studios like the one she works with, Shameless Photography, are popping up everywhere–welcoming people of all different bodies in front of their lens.

Yet, despite the improvements, there are still many body-haters out there.

“It’s easy to say hurtful things when you are not face to face with someone. But the matter is that none of us knows each other’s stories. We are all just trying our best. All you can do is reflect love and kindness to the people around and hope that they reflect it back,” she explains.

Online Campaigns and Hashtags

Online communities are increasingly triggering social change, with men and women redefining what “beautiful” actually means. Current body positive groups have been able to build a strong network of like-minded individuals across the virtual world. Many found each other through empowering body-positive hashtags and social media campaigns.

Although Instagram has blocked users from searching hashtags such as #curvy, women of all shapes, sizes and colors are posting photos of their curves to prove their bodies will not be censored using hashtags such as #BringCurvyBack, #Curvee and #EffYourBeautyStandards.

Talking Beauty

Fruth’s hope is that artists and activists will continue to flood the media with body-positive images and articles. “Over time the mass media will change. It will no longer be rare to see women of age, of color, of different sizes in our magazines, on our television, in our advertisements. Only then will the fight be over”.

What do you think of the American Beauty photo series? How do you perceive body positivity? Share your views in the comments section below.

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