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'Helping survivors': Local exhibit promoting body positivity to donate funds

Making a difference through a journey of loving your body and helping survivors
Posted at 12:54 PM, Nov 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 11:08:39-05

BRYAN, Texas — A local photographer and storyteller spoke with girls and women in the Brazos Valley about their bodies.

They then took photos of them to help empower the ladies and these vulnerable prints will be revealed at the Grand Staffard Theater during First Friday.

Although the Bryan College Station Body Positivity Initiative has an unlikely origin story, all proceeds will go directly toward the Sexual Assault Research Center of the area.

Lindsey LeBlanc, the SARC Executive Director, said 90% of their survivors are female.

"It's very exciting and just humbling honestly to have business owners that are willing to stand up and say this is an important thing in our community and we want to give back to that," LaBlanc said.

The event all started when Jessica Lemmons overheard a woman make a derogatory comment about how women should cover up.

She blames her pregnancy hormones on angrily joking about a body-positive contest and that she was going to pose nude for it nine months pregnant.

It soon became a reality with the help of her friend that is a photographer.

"Almost from birth, women receive messages that they are not their own. You're always trying to be someone from someone else... It's also our job to be pretty for some reason, it's not, but we receive that message," she said.

She and her friend saw this initial joke as an opportunity to promote body positivity.

"I care about the women here and I would like for them to not feel like they need to change their bodies, be something that they're not, to just celebrate and embrace who they are or where they are," Lemmons said.

Ashley Lindsey, the photographer behind the project, said she hopes it will help women in the future avoid negativity toward themselves. 

"From 6 PM to 8 PM-ish there's going to be live music kind of playing in the background, so everyone can see the art, focus on that. Then from 8 PM to 10 PM, we're going to have a drag show," she said.

No matter what people have said or what your body looks like, organizers of the event want participants as well as others in the Brazos Valley to say this body is mine, which is why the exhibit will be called MINE.