The standards of beauty are something that ALL women deal with on a daily basis. Fashion, beauty, physique standards change so frequently it will make your head spin. Traditional beauty? What’s that? Unique beauty? The newest hashtags, it’s really too much to even keep up with.
So who decides where beauty lies? There seems to be a shift towards non-conventional beauty as of late. There appears to be a movement to begin inclusion in beauty standards. But what about us? The ones who have been here all along, watching from the sidelines being told we don’t fit in, or hiding the parts that make us different. Being told you are cute, pretty, beautiful BUT….
Those of us who have shed tears because the standards are ridiculous. Those of us who hid or dimmed our shine as to not draw attention to our imperfections. Did you notice that “imperfections” tells you “I’M PERFECT.” You probably didn’t at first because we aren’t taught to value our differences. We are taught to hide them or strive to fit the mold. Unfortunately, very few fit those molds, more of us are the ones who broke the mold. Yet, we haven’t hit our reset button to recognize that the beauty standards we are taught are created. We are all beautiful, in our way.
A few months ago I decided to do something for myself. I decided to have boudoir photos done. I decided to do them for several reasons. One, was to have a day of fun, dress up (or down 😂) and be dolled up with hair and makeup. Another was to remind myself I was worthy, beautiful and get some of myself back. It’s a hard life being a wife, mom, and caregiver with a never ending to-do list. The final reason I decided to do it was I saw it as a necessity to spread awareness about beauty and disabilities.
Disability and physical differences are slowly becoming more common in the media and in the beauty field. We are seeing representation with beauty but what about the subjects that get touchy. Can you be sexy and disabled? Are disabled people sexual? Are disabled people hot? Is it ok to consider disabled people in these terms?
The answer is a very loud YES!
There are multiple resources out there including interviews, articles and studies into the subject of sexuality and disability. Recently, relationships and disability have been in the headlines due to some statements that Dr. Phil made regarding relationships between those with disabilities and those without, “inter-abled couples” is the term. Dr. Phil claims that 100% of such couples/relationships/marriages fail.
Well, as 1/2 of an inter-abled couple of almost 20 years I can proudly tell Dr. Phil a certain place to go. His perspective though, isn’t 100% wrong, as hard as that is to say. But, his statement does nothing but to perpetuate a culture of separation amongst the able bodied and those with disabilities. The stigmas associated with seeing such couples, questioning their relationship, how things work, are frankly none of your concern. These are the things that need to be addressed, seen and represented.
Females with disabilities are just like most females, they want to be seen as beautiful, sexy creatures to at least 1 person. We also don’t want to be seen as monsters, separate from other females. We are aware of our differences, and I like to believe that females are becoming more supportive of each other these days. Our society is shifting to be supportive, diversely represented and inclusive to all. Though the stigmas of the unknown and under-seen are the barriers that need to be broken for good.
The only way to do such massive deconstruction is to be vulnerable, share our stories both good and bad. To become the representation and examples we need to see. Everyone has to do their part. For my part I’m sharing pictures that make me feel beautiful, empowered, worthy and equal to any other woman. I’m sharing my story of both love and rejection for the little girls who, just like me, have a difference that might affect their self esteem, their view of the world, their hope for the future. You ARE beautiful, worthy and equal. Yes, there will be those who make you question yourself. The ones who take that little piece that’s different and run with it. Remember that YOU have the final say, you choose how you feel, about yourself and whether you absorb or repel the feelings of others.
Your life is exactly how you feel about it. So feel happy, choose to smile and laugh even when it’s hard. Your beauty shines through darkness.
These amazing photos were taken by a beautiful, caring and talented photographer, Leila Wylie of True You Boudoir! Thank you Leila for capturing the purpose behind these photos. I hope these pictures will extend a hand in creating a more accepting and understanding world. One where differences aren’t looked at as a negative or making one less than others. We are all beautiful in our own way.
**Important notice, all photos are the property of Kim Stumbo and are not to be copied or used without expressed permission. All rights reserved.
*A special thanks to Stacy Williamson of Mane & Cheek for the hair and makeup in collaboration with True You Boudoir ❤️
*A special thanks to Nakia Lafleur The Color Alchemist for the awesome cut and color 😍
Always remember your superpowers 💕