I really don’t know how to reflect on my attendance at the “Embrace” documentary in Wantage last night because I came out of it with mixed feelings. On one hand, I really love the mission of the film, I admire the author’s journey and the commitment to share her experience – body image issues are such a huge area of mental health problems that I don’t even dare to look into it. I know a few people who have done amazing work on it here, in the UK, and I know from their stories that the work is really demanding, hard and also very rewarding. I am angry that we live in a mainstream media landscape where both women and men are struggling to just enjoy their lives as they are. But I also expected a bit more from the movie and the screening. Here is what bothers me:
- Choice of stories – why just women’s voices? I would love to hear more from men who have varied opinions (both in the movie and during the event)
- Solutions – the documentary is a great conversation starter and few of us last night had a brilliant chat about it, so what are the next steps? Open up, connect, what can we really do?
- Cost – why is the documentary not available for free online? I completely understand the need for a business model for the author of the movie but the movie itself should be free because the message is really important. I think to put a price tag on a conversation starter on such a fundamental problem we need to deal with is unethical. I also think it creates an accessibility issue – a barrier. Everyone should see the movie and ease of access is important.
- Audience – what about children? I personally think this movie should be rolled out as a mandatory material in primary schools all across the globe and I am really sad that the local screening was so late, my son would really benefit from watching it.
- Research – what is the current research on body image issues? I would love to see interviews with few researchers too, not just personal stories
I really enjoyed the movie and the above criticism stems from the fact that the film is actually a conversation starter, it prompts action and opens up the need for more and more: more awareness, more open conversations, more stakeholders and more research but most importantly: actual how to’s for people who wish to change their take on their own body and practice a bit of self-love.
I am really happy I managed to view the movie in our little Wantage though, what a great initiative!