This past year has been a year of change, and I’m afraid it hasn’t been for the better… In a society that prides itself in being progressive, we are in many ways taking steps back when it comes to all kinds of things, especially when it comes to body acceptance and positivity.
I have always been an advocate for women to feel confident in themselves and their bodies, embracing my own “flaws” and showing women that they too can be a model no matter what the size. But of course, I’m human. I get hurt when my weight becomes a determining factor in outcomes of things I pursue. It makes me sad, and I get disturbed at the things that still happen to make women feel that if they were skinnier, they wouldn’t struggle as often. I sometimes feel that way too, and this past year has been the epitome of struggle for me.
I am currently the District Director of Heels For Combat Boots in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in the summer of 2016, we were asked as a chapter to attend the Rockabilly on the Route event in Tucumcari, NM. We graciously accepted and were treated with great hospitality, had a great time, and raised money for a good cause while we attended. When the event was being photographed by various photographers, us HFCB ladies took pictures together during our fundraiser at the event.
A few weeks down the road, the Rockabilly on the Route page displayed a group photo of us girls with the organizer of the event during our fundraiser… AND I WAS CROPPED OUT.
Photo by Rockabilly on the Route on their FB page: http://www.facebook.com/RockabillyOnTheRoute.
Personal photo by Luella Balzano, taken at the same time as the one above.
I was on the end of the picture on the very far right, and I was cropped out of the picture. The District Director, the one who usually organizes the events that HFCBNM does, the woman that arranged for us girls to be at the event, was cropped out.
Now, I’m not an expert on photography, but the picture seemed to be fine from the right side of the photo. From what I could tell, the girls looked great and despite the fact that it wasn’t the best picture, it was used on the event’s FB page. I commented, “I was cut off in this picture,” and only got a like for my comment. The picture is still up today, and you can see my arm underneath my dear friend’s arm on the right.
This was the first time it ever happened to me, and admittedly, it took a toll on my self-esteem. It left me wondering, what reason photographically or otherwise, would they crop me out? I was looking for answers. I even reached out to friends and asked them their opinion when I showed them the picture. I couldn’t help but think that the reason why I was cropped out, was because I was the biggest girl in the group.
Now, I’m in no way, shape, or form mad at the event holder or even the one who handles the event’s FB page. I can’t assume that the event page admin knew how upsetting it was for me via one comment I made on the picture. They were very gracious people at the event, so much in fact, that HFCBNM will be there again this year. I am a full supporter of the event owner and Rockabilly on the Route. But I think that maybe after bringing it up, they will think twice about who they hire as their photographer for their events. And why bring it up now? Because I am still noticing that a lot of people think this is acceptable, that it is okay to discriminate against women based on their size!!!
The point I am trying to make is this- WE STILL HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO. Women need to be appreciated not by the size they are but by their demeanor, their personalities, their charisma! ALL women should be considered beautiful, no matter what the size or even the color of their skin! I can’t stress that fact enough, because we still have struggles to overcome, we still have people who think we should be cropped out of photos, we still have people who think we shouldn’t be on covers of magazines. We still have photographers that don’t display their work with us as proudly as they do with thin women. We still have modeling and pinup contests we don’t win because the support of the public is still strongly adherent to those with a thinner stature.
What do we need to do to make this change? We need to KEEP FIGHTING for the right to be considered beautiful and important, that’s what! I am still going to lead the New Mexico Chapter of Heels For Combat Boots in fundraisers that benefit our state’s charities to help service men and women who suffer with PTSD/TBI. I am still going to do events, pinup meet and greets, submit photos to magazines, and aim for the cover of more magazines even if I’m a size 18.
What do YOU need to do? Keep supporting all women who want to make a mark on “herstory”, who want to show the world that they too are beautiful. Support small independent companies like Lil’ Lou Lou, Hardley Dangerous Couture, Doll Me Up, etc. that promote the same views that all women of any shape, size, or color are gorgeous. Support women of color and of different nationalities in pinup contests no matter how big or small so that all kinds of women are represented! We are sisters, mothers, and hard workers. We are all the same, we are all equal, and WE ARE ALL HUMAN. That’s what needs to be spread all over the world until society can accept it. And only YOU can make this possible.
Thank you for your help!
Miss MozzyDee ❤