Every time a mum looks down at her post-partum body and thinks “I wish I looked like I used to”, or sees a celebrity flaunting their thin stature just after giving birth, our expectations of ‘beauty’ grow, and our self-esteem dwindles.
There used to be a time when life was simple; when selfies were taken on a two-megapixel camera or flip phone, so you couldn’t even tell if you had a blemish.
Then came Instagram and the first filters, these quick touch-up tools made our pics instantly look like a pro took them with just a few swipes and clicks.
But a simple filter was not enough, and now we have the arrival of the face and body tuning apps, and ‘you, but better’ has reached a whole new level. Slimmer, fitter, blonder, bigger lips and the perfect jawline can now all be achieved before you’ve had your first coffee of the day.
But is it really you in those pics?
For years, brands and advertisers have tried to convince us that being ‘beautiful’ means sharing the same common traits – lithe, long-haired with flawless skin, perfect teeth and the right tan.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel your best, but when we make a sunset that bit more colourful or changes our appearance to better suit a generic idea of beauty, we’re altering what really happened at the moment and losing a piece of ourselves at the same time.
Our real beauty comes from our diversity – from body shapes to hair colour and beyond.
In addition to being comfortable with how we look, I believe that women should also be open to discussing how issues such as periods, bladder leakage, discharge and sweat affect us day-to-day.
Let’s get real. It’s common. Most women have or will get their period, it’s in our DNA and one in three mums experience bladder leaks.
When I started Modibodi, Australia’s leading leak-proof underwear, I wanted to empower women to embrace their bodies and have absolute confidence in themselves. The idea first came to me when I was a full-time mum of a two-year-old and five-month-old at the time, living in Seattle, USA surrounded by tech start-ups.
I was out jogging, in fact, I was training for a marathon and had been experiencing occasional, but embarrassing light bladder leaks.
The available solutions were ugly, inconvenient, uncomfortable and a hazard to our environment – disposable hygiene. I just felt we deserved something better.
I knew instantly that I was going to have to create a whole new product category for women. I am really proud that I took that idea and turned it into a product and now apparel brand that can more conveniently, comfortably and reliably manage menstrual flow, incontinence, discharge, breast milk leaks or sweat, and reduce the amount of single-use products ending up in landfill and damaging our environment.
After two years of development, which included endless conversations with textile engineers, scientists and industry experts, and then sourcing and conducting over 1,000 scientific tests, I had a patentable product.
I then sought some opinions as to how I should market this range of life-changing undies. I was repeatedly told we’d need super glamorous models to make supposed unmentionable topics (menstruation and incontinence) tolerable to Australian women and the media.
I refused to believe this was the only way we could have a presence in the market and from day one we’ve sourced customers or everyday women from diverse backgrounds to help model and sell our products. Six years later we have customers contacting us daily to take part in our photos shoots that celebrate women of every size, ethnicity and age. From mums to athletes, nans to our movers and shakers in the business world, you’ll see every type of woman, and all remain photoshop free.
We’re keeping it real at Modibodi because we know that women are always at their best, they can be themselves.
Apps, filters and photoshop hide our real power and beauty as women, so go filter-free and know that the best version of you, is just you.
I’m Kristy Chong, the CEO and creator of Modibodi. I’m a mum on a mission, a fash-tech entrepreneur and a social advocate for women’s health issues and rights. After the birth of my second child, my personal experience with “unmentionable” bladder leaks made me determined to start my own brand. One that would change our mindsets – and the planet! – by changing underwear for the better.