Michelle Fetsch founded the "global support network," Women Enough, in 2010 to help women empower themselves to strive towards their professional and personal goals. Then Michelle, who used to struggle with an eating disorder, launched the Bare Campaign this May to continue connecting women through shared experiences of insecurity, doubt, and ultimately, self-acceptance.
"We all go through a point in our lives when we shame a part of our life, our story, and ourselves," Michelle Fetsch writes on the Women Enough site.
For the successful SF-based entrepreneur, her shame came in the form of an eating disorder that surfaced when she was only 12-years-old. As the disorder took hold over her life, Michelle kept her dysfunctional relationship with food a secret because, she explains, "I learned that it wasn’t safe to tell people the things I was aching about; when I did, they turned their backs on and criticized and couldn’t 'handle me or it.'"
The secrecy and private pain she dealt with as a teenager helped spawn the Bare Campaign. Its primary mission is inspired by the notion that if our insecurities over body image, career aspirations, and sexual desires are revealed rather than hidden - companionship, support, and encouragement will rise up to meet them.
Bare also attempts to "bridge the gap between perception and reality" when it comes to what women actually look like and what they can achieve, so that together we create the power to heal from traumatic experiences, destroy unrealistic images of ourselves in the media, and positively influence other women around us to dream and dream big!
Michelle asked her participants to describe their dreams for the future. We can't agree more with their visions!
Mykale had an abortion at 17. Although she doesn't regret the past, when she became pregnant four years later, she wouldn't let her chance at motherhood pass her by. The black beauty works two jobs in order to provide for her little man, but that doesn't stop her from keeping her goals in focus! "I may not be where I want to be, but I love where I'm heading..."
The glowing Lakshmi's confidence is contagious and heartwarming. She had a child at 42 and raised him as a single mom. Despite the obvious hardships, she proudly exclaims that because of her son she was given the "best experience of motherhood any woman could ever have."
Sharianne is a warrior. She's survived Hodgkin's Lymphoma four times due to her incredible resilience. The cancer made her realize how much strength she has inside herself and how much she wants to live her life to the fullest. "It is in our struggles and imperfections that we find out who we really are," she tells Bare. "This person who shows up is what makes the world a better place to live in."
As a sexual assault survivor, Hilary has overcome many obstacles to recognize sex as something beautiful and something she wants for herself. "I refuse to reshape any part of me to fit anyone else's ideal," she says.
After surviving a house fire, Shivie vowed to change her life. Like many women, she was not entirely happy with her body and her near-death experience motivated her to do something about it and she lost seventy pounds. "It wasn't about how I looked to the outside world, it was about how I felt about myself INSIDE."
Kenya has been through a lot. Her father left her, she was molested as a child, and made the diffcult decision to have an abortion. Yet, she looked her hardships in the face and worked through them. "[I] am finally living my life full out! In that process, I’ve discovered my purpose. I now know I am not my past, WE are not our past!"
Xiomara prides herself on the powerful, well-adjusted woman she is despite raising her siblings while her single mom worked, dealing with her rape by a family member, and her diabetes diagnosis. "Recently I overcame DM II (Diabetes type II) by submitting myself through a lifestyle change that helped me lose about 90lb."
You can learn more about the Bare Campaign and even be a participant here!
What are your dreams for the next generation of women? Tweet us @wewomenUSA!
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