Skip navigation! Story from Take Back The Beach. Sara Coughlin. Moscow's Chayka pool looks exactly as it did in , when it opened as a training facility for the national diving, synchronized swimming, and water polo teams. Although it's maintained its Soviet-style design, the pool's clientele has since expanded to include families and tourists in addition to the occasional athlete. Photographer Olya Ivanova visited the hub of summertime activity to find out how the Russian women swimming there really feel about their bodies. The first thing she noticed was a confidence age gap. Many of the women told Ivanova that, after years of worrying about their appearance, they finally learned to love their bodies when they stopped caring what other people think — even those closest to them. Others mentioned that their journey to self-acceptance is ongoing — and admitted that it's difficult to silence their inner critic. But Ivanova takes their honesty as a sign of progress toward self-love: "Being fragile and accepting your body are connected," she says.
R29 Original Series
BBC News Navigation
We rarely acknowledge that our freedom, courage, and self-love start from a very intimate place — the privacy of our bedrooms, in front of our mirrors — and from our relationship with our own bodies. Society is slowly coming to an understanding of the battles fought by people with marginalised bodies: fat, queer, trans, differently-abled, people of colour, to name just a few. Body positivity is a movement which not only pushes against restrictive mainstream beauty norms, but asserts that all bodies are equally entitled to love, admiration, and representation. This is something almost every Russian girl hears from her mother or older female relatives. It is OK to suffer uncomfortable high heels and restrictive diets as long as it delivers a socially-admirable appearance.
It hoped to embrace aspects of the female body that are often hidden, stigmatized or seen as imperfections. Women who grew up in Russia through the 90s have seen drastic transformation in society. However, the present day ideal is heavily influenced by the global image of the ultra skinny. Originally from Vladivostok, a port city, Komina moved to China when she was 23, and recently relocated to the Philippines, where she continues to reach out to Russian women through her page — by posting her pictures with thoughtful captions on body image, beauty, harmful stereotypes and more. She also takes the time to interact meaningfully with her followers through comments and direct messages. As Russia is a large country spread across two continents, with stark cultural differences in urban and rural areas, there are also different sides to body shaming faced by women — on one hand, a relatively universal, skinny ideal becomes apparent, while on the other, the heavier, more voluptuous body is coveted.
She was only Having lost 21kg, she was diagnosed with anorexia. A new idea had then begun to take root: gruelling gym sessions and healthy food. And that is how anorexia had turned into orthorexia - an obsession with eating healthy.