August 13, 2019
Series: Welcoming All Families: Finding Plus Size Images for Your Classes, Website and Marketing
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 0 Comments
As childbirth educators, we know that we are likely to have a diverse group of families in our classes. The materials we use to teach with and the images on our websites and in our marketing materials should be just as varied as the people who take our classes. Today is the next post in the occasional series on Welcoming all Families. On Connecting the Dots we share sources for images that represent people of size. Pam Vireday has written before here and here on this blog about welcoming people of size in our classrooms and today’s post is a nice compliment to that.
I recently came across an amazing website that offers free stock photos of a diverse group of people who are all large sized. AllGo was founded by Rebecca Alexander in order to provide consulting services to companies who want to be sure that they are meeting the needs of their plus-sized clients and employees. AllGo also felt it was important to be a resource for plus-sized people, so they also created an app for people to rate and find places that accommodate plus-sized bodies; for example, does a particular restaurant only have booths and a larger person may not fit in them?
The free stock photos that AllGo generously offers are of many different types of people, who may or may not be pregnant. The collection came about when Rebecca was having difficulty finding images to use on AllGo’s social media sites. In true entrepreneurial form, Rebecca saw a need and filled it!
While plus-sized pregnant people do not always look “very pregnant”, these images will serve educators well for many purposes. Looking at the images through an educator’s eye, I saw lots of photos that I know I could use to illustrate many points (resting in early labor, healthy nutrition, etc.) in my classes and on my website.
I asked AllGo founder, Rebecca Alexander why it was important for larger sized pregnant people to see other plus-sized bodies who are pregnant, birthing and parenting?
"Representation is so important. Very few of us will ever be the “first” person to do anything. So, when we’re setting out on a new adventure—especially one that can be as stressful as pregnancy and childbirth—it means a lot to know that someone like you has been there before. Seeing images that remind you of yourself doing something you’re nervous about is calming. They’re a visual and way of communicating, “If she can do it, so can I.” If the images in AllGo’s collection can provide comfort to pregnant people, I would be both humbled and honored."
Jen McLellan, founder of Plus Size Birth shared with me that she is constantly searching the standard stock photo sites for appropriate images to use on her own website and on social media with very little luck. Jen has done a great deal to normalize pregnancy and birth for plus size people and create a space where pregnant and postpartum people can find community and resources to feel less alone.
"I remember spending hours searching for images of plus-size pregnant people when I was pregnant. It was heartbreaking to find hardly any, and that made me feel like there was something wrong with my body. When we see photos of people who look like us, we feel represented! Being plus size and pregnant is so stigmatized, but pictures help to normalize the experience. When I started Plus Size Birth eight years ago, it was imperative for me to share tons of images of plus-size pregnant people. Sadly, I still struggle to find pictures of plus size pregnancy via stock photos, and most pregnancy websites aren't size-friendly. Please don't allow the lack of inclusive photos from stock photo sites to prevent you from being inclusive on yours. There are a few resources and reach out to your community and ask people to donate images. Thank you for helping to normalize plus size pregnancy!"
The free images from AllGo are available for download and use without restrictions. All that Rebecca asks is that you use the following credit whenever possible in order to credit the photographer, Michael Poley and direct people to additional AllGo resources:
Photo featuring plus-size model by Michael Poley of Poley Creative for AllGo, publisher of free stock photos featuring plus-size people.
What are your favorite resources for photos that celebrate body positivity in pregnancy, birth, and parenting? Let us know in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: It is with great sadness that I share that Pamela Vireday, the author of many posts over the years on Connecting the Dots (some of them linked above) passed away in Spring of 2019 after a hard-fought battle against cancer. I had the deepest respect for Pam’s work and her generous heart. Pam always found the time to help a person in need as they navigated the often-stressful experience of growing their family as a person of size. I appreciated my many opportunities to work and collaborate with Pam on this blog and had a real fangirl moment when I got to meet her in person at a conference in Portland, OR many years ago. My deepest sympathies go out to Pam’s family and community, who I know are feeling her absence every day.
TagsChildbirth education Plus Size Series: Welcoming All Families Pamela Vireday Welcoming All Families Sharon Muza Jen McClellan Rebecca Alexander AllGo Image Sources