Low self-esteem plagues a lot of women in America today, particularly young women and teenage girls. Many psychological researchers believe that the current media culture has contributed to this condition by historically pushing the narrative that the standard of beauty is a tall, thin, fair-skinned woman.
These portrayals are commonplace in movies, television commercials and music videos. The Routledge International Handbook of Consumer Psychology suggests that media perceptions play a large part into determining societal cultural norms – especially when it comes to defining female beauty.
According to the Center for Advancing Health, a study lead by a Dong-Chul Seo, Ph.D., an associate professor at the School of Public Health at Indiana University, suggests that seeing oneself as overweight or obese may be an important, independent predictor of suicidal thoughts, especially in young girls.
Many psychologists believe that low self-esteem in teens often contributes to depression, promiscuity, and the likelihood of remaining in unhealthy personal relationships. One of the main stigmas that women have always struggled to overcome is being overweight. Large-framed, full-figured women are often called Fat, Nasty, Disgusting and a host of other derogatory terms.
Experiencing bullying as a full-figured woman can often affect the overall psyche of the victim, resulting in a lack of confidence in one’s personal and professional life. There have been countless stories describing full-figured women who fear workplace discrimination, are apprehensive about dating and avoid wearing certain articles of clothing. Many full-figured women live each day in fear and mental seclusion.
Being a woman who has battled with low self-esteem in the past, ShaVonda Williams decided to empower herself by taking her life back and helping other women do the same. In 2014, she created Curves For A Cause to empower women, allowing them to embrace who they are – no matter their size, color, age or background. The organization’s slogan is Curvy We Stand.
Williams helps women regain their confidence by encouraging them to embrace their natural curves, while working towards a physically and mentally healthier lifestyle. Curves For A Cause holds monthly meetings, which allows members to connect, bond and support one another.
“The idea is that we are curvy and we stand together, no matter your shape, size, color or background. We have women of all walks of life… All ages, all sizes, from all different areas. We even had ladies travel to come participate in this show. Curves For A Cause was inspired by my own triumphs and troubles and victories and failures… Always feeling like I was the one in the background that could not have my ideas come to life so I just stepped out on faith one day and said I’m going to do it.” – ShaVonda Williams
On December 3, 2017, Curves For A Cause held their 3rd annual “Women’s Empowerment Fashion Show” at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Louisville, KY. The elegant event featured Curves For A Cause members, strutting down the runway, while modeling clothing from local and national boutiques and fashion designers.
The contestants were all beneficiaries of a professional model experience, which included professional makeup, hair and nail applications. Always incorporating the message of empowerment into the organization, Williams dedicated a particular segment of the fashion show to honor women who have overcome tremendous adversities.
Model Summer Reign, who was sexually abused by her father as a child and survived incidents of rape and domestic violence as an adult, was honored as she glided down the runway in an elegant black ensemble, which perfectly accentuated her curvy hips and long legs.
Summer Reign joined Curves For A Cause this past February and says that joining the organization has helped her cope with many of the traumatic experiences that she’s experienced throughout her lifetime.
“As a child I was sexually molested by my father and I am a two-time domestic violence survivor and I also was raped by a boyfriend. The greatest benefit of belonging to Curves For A Cause is being around positivity and a sisterhood… Of course being in groups of women our personalities clash here and there like any family. there are some moments – but overall it’s a positive group… Every time I have a meeting to go to, or a practice to go to, I’m excited about it because I know that I’m going to bond with my sisters.” – Summer Reign
The three-hour event ended with a special ceremony in which Del’lynette Thompson was crowned “2018 Ms. Curves For A Cause”. Contestants competing for the crown were required to sell tickets to the event, spread awareness of the fashion show on social media, and recruit vendors and sponsors.
Thompson was the most successful in all three categories, which put her over the top. She says that she began working hard on those objectives immediately after last year’s Curves For A Cause annual fashion show.
“This event means the world to me because it let’s me know that women my size and my color have a spotlight to come out and shine because with the media you have to be a certain size or you have to be a certain color. This show gives the option for girls that are not the standard idea of beauty to be recognized and celebrated.” – Del’lynette Thompson
The next Curves For A Cause Fashion Show will take place in December of 2018. For more information about Curves For A Cause, access their website at curves4acause.com and follow Curves For A Cause on Instagram.