When viewing underwear ads, you might not always feel the absolute best about your body. But one woman with stretch marks proved that this doesn't need to be the case. As Popsugar reported, a mother posed in Calvin Klein underwear to prove to women that they can embrace and love their bodies no matter their size or features, because there's no such thing as a universally perfect figure.
According to Popsugar, "Texan Brenda DeRouen, a 26-year-old mother with an 8-year-old son [...] has struggled to accept her own middle since giving birth as it now has stretch marks." Posing with the sexy underwear allowed her to flaunt her beautiful tummy and help her embrace her body.
Headlines have surfaced regarding how these photos are an imitation of Kendall Jenner's Calvin Klein ad. But the interesting thing is that DeRouen, who is a lawyer and founder of blog Oh Brenda!, didn't even mean to recreate the ad. It just happened organically. She tells me via email, "The shoot had nothing to do with Kendall and everything to do with me. In fact, I hadn’t even seen Kendall’s ad until The Daily Mail asked me if I was trying to recreate [it]."
So why the striking similarities? She continues, "I wore Calvin Klein undies because to me, the brand represents comfort, class, and a hint of sexy... I thought it was time to give the look a different narrative with darker skin and a not so perfect body. I hope Mr. Klein [will] make more women like me the face (and body) of his brand. And show the world that there is beauty in imperfection."
So what did DeRouen hope to teach her readers with these photos? With the help of photographer Deun Ivory, she wanted people to see that it's time to start embracing their alleged imperfections and stop striving for "the perfect body." She tells me, "Our bodies were never meant to be perfect. I want people to stop shaming women for giving birth to a human life. Our bodies are not just sex symbols for men to desire, but real life art. Every scar and imperfection has a story that makes us unique. Embrace it and show it the love and attention that it requires."
While she created the photos to inspire others, the beautiful thing was that the shoot also helped heal her own insecurities. DeRouen adds, "When I looked at the photos Deun sent me I literally cried. But this time the tears we happy tears. I was so proud of myself and happy to share this moment with so many women who’ve ever had insecurities with their bodies."
And proud she should definitely feel. Considering that magazine stands are still offering up issues crowded with words like "bikini body" and "beach ready," it's important to take back the narrative and appreciate the beautiful body we each have.
Glamour pointed out, "It's a special, necessary reminder of something we should all keep in mind as 'beach season' gets closer and closer: That bodies are good, bodies are different, and we should just appreciate them for what they are."
If you want to hear more about DeRouen's encouraging thoughts, check out her blog post "Love Your Body." And the next time you sit in your undies or go try on bathing suits, remember her inspiring message: You are beautiful, and it's time to finally embrace that fact.
Images: Courtesy Deun Ivory and Brenda DeRouen (4)