On Tuesday, Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks did something countless celebrities have done before her: She posted a selfie to her Instagram account. But while some celebs may do this without a second thought, the act was uniquely meaningful for Brooks, who says she's learning to embrace her body.
"I've always wanted to do this but have felt shameful and have told myself 'until my body is perfect I'm forbidden,'" Brooks wrote of her decision to specifically pose in just a sports bra and athletic pants. "Today my inner being told me to turn up the notch on my self-love. I should not be ashamed of my body. I'm not a walking imperfection! I'm a Goddess."
Brooks has long been a vocal champion of not only embracing one's size, but bucking stereotypical beauty standards altogether. "Being a woman of curves, I really find that it's very important to talk about loving your body where you are," she said on a May panel at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, according to People. It's a conversation she's promoted on Instagram using hashtags like #voiceofthecurves, and by recently partnering with People StyleWatch to launch another body-positive campaign, #LoveYourShape.
Encouragingly, it seems she may be contributing to a broader trend: Other curvy stars, like Lena Dunham, have posted gym selfies, plus-size model collective ALDA conducted an entire photo shoot in athletic wear, and this month's Women's Running magazine features a cover model of size. These images bolster the concept that weight may not be the conclusive determinant of health that most assume it is.
This representation of curvy women as not only beautiful, but also athletic and healthy, not only reflects the diverse women consuming this media, but reminds them that their size is normal and natural — not a flaw. It's a type of representation Brooks has noted she could have benefitted from as a child, and a responsibility she now takes seriously as a public figure.
"Now that I am blessed to be that reflection I was once looking for, I'm making a promise to speak out for that little girl that I used to be," the 25-year-old actress wrote in a personal essay for Glamour in May. "I might not have the power to change what media puts out there, or to single-handedly convince young girls like me that they should love themselves. But what I can do is start with me: living each day, embracing who I am."
h/t Huffington Post