"Relatable" - Using Media to Promote Body Positivity

By Molly Fitzpatrick
Molly - Photo by Dylan Silver
I am a stylist, a writer, and graduate student. My name is Molly Fitzpatrick, and I am on a mission to start thoughtful and important conversations about body image issues, in order to redefine labels and prove beauty is limitless, brave and about being body-shameless.

As a woman who has an appreciation for fashion and the value of inner beauty, body image issues are close to my heart.

My story is not inspirational. Instead, I am the one who has been inspired.

I have been given the amazing and rewarding opportunity to showcase stories about incredible and beautiful women who are on a collective mission to promote body positivity, advocate for media inclusion, and who are speaking out against body-shaming.

These women are bravely sharing their experience with eating disorders, breaking the boundaries of their disabilities, and voicing their frustration with the different forms of body-shaming in media.

Their powerful stories and unique perspectives are featured in my professional project to complete my Master of Arts degree in Journalism from University of Nevada.

The project that I have created is RelatableMagazine. In conjunction with my podcast, titled The Body-Shameless Series, my project is a campaign for body acceptance and positivity.

The multimedia journalism project is a community for women that have overcome incredible challenges, to share their voice and experience with disabilities, eating disorders and body-shaming.

Each of the women I spoke with exemplify strength, resilience and courage. The collection of articles are about women who are now using their journey to educate, empower and help other woman dealing with body image issues, and who know first-hand the negative impact media has on a woman’s body confidence.

In the Summer of 2016, I was given the opportunity to do an internship with The RawBeauty Project. Because the mission of this organization combined my passion for fashion, inclusion, and doing something with a purpose, it was impossible to not see its potential.

During my internship, I assisted with the project’s social media campaign for the Los Angeles exhibit, and learned a great deal about the amazing women in this community.

Disability has never touched my life. Admittedly, as a professional stylist and journalism student, I had never entirely noticed the lack of inclusion, with the exception of the lack of diversity in body types (sizes) that are represented.

The Raw Beauty Project changed my perspective, and played a key role in how I developed the idea for my project .

Although one- in-five people are living with a disability in America (U.S.Census 2015), this group is largely underrepresented in media and the fashion industry.

The stories that I have told on Relatable and The Body-Shameless podcast include women that have overcome incredible obstacles, and are living beyond what may appear to be the limitation of their disabilities.

With a passion for inclusion in media; specifically in the fashion industry, these female entrepreneur’s, students and other professionals, are using their experience to empower and educate audiences.

Pulling from their personal journey, these ladies are on a mission to advocate for a more inclusive industry that represents women with disabilities, and to change perceptions.

My hope is that this project will act as a starting point to bring attention to this issue in a unique way, through storytelling in print and audio. I included these individuals in my project because I want women who may be dealing with a disability, or have someone in their life that is touched by this issue,  to listen to the podcast and read these stories.

Mostly, I felt it was important for their voices to be heard, and beautiful stories to be told.

I want to create an environment that a variety of women can relate and connect to.  I want this project to motivate women to share their own story, and start a discussion about  body image issues in media.

Relatable seeks to spread a message that size and ability do not define a woman’s beauty, body, or self worth. This community recognizes the need for shift in media, related to women and body image, and will act as a new way to use media.  

Promoting body positivity, offering life changing advice and an opportunity to share your voice, Relatable is redefining media’s labels in order to represent and include all women dealing with body image issues.

The Body Shameless Series podcast can be found here. My final project and “first issue” of Relatable went live at the end of November, and currently has a Facebook page, which can be found here.

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