Curves Must Benefit movement inspires body positivity

Hayley Goliath, from Westridge questioned the fashion industry’s accommodation in their pricing and styles of clothing for plus-size women, and started a movement called Curves Must Benefit.

When a Westridge woman who was frustrated at the availability of styles, and price of clothing for plus-size women started voicing her concerns, a movement started growing around her cause.

Hayley Goliath, 42, the founder of Curves Must Benefit, recalls walking into a store in June, and being unable to find the style jeans she wanted, in her price range. A cursory look around, she told the Plainsman, revealed that jeans for bigger women, were far more expensive.

Founder Ms Goliath said she has finally found her purpose and that is the Curves Must Benefit movement.

“I asked myself, why can’t I benefit from this, why could I not purchase the jeans? I was so frustrated, I had so many questions,” she said.

“I spoke to many of my friends and found that it wasn’t just me feeling that way. They too identified with the problem I was facing,” said Ms Goliath.

When she moved the conversation to Facebook, she found even more people who felt the same way.

“Fat women are being criticised and pushed to the side. I expressed my frustrations, I allowed it to come out and people started to follow this movement,” said Ms Goliath.

The movement gathered momentum after Ms Goliath organised a photoshoot for plus-size women. Among those who put their support behind the Curves Must Benefit movement were designers Bahiya Adams of Bahiya Fashions and Shirnelle Power of Adorn by Shirnelle who met Ms Goliath after following her on social media.

“As someone who is all about self-love and body positivity, I decided to surround myself with people who have similar interests and feeding from South African women who have real stories to share and who I can connect and relate to versus the body positivity movement from other countries,” said Ms Power.

She’s excited to be collaborating with Curves Must Benefit. “My aim with my clothing and accessories shop is to give people good quality clothing options as the clothing industry has and continue to overlook people beyond a size 44,” she said.

Her range is an exclusive and limited edition range for people who wear between a size 40 and 50.

“Obesity is a struggle in our community. Someone needed to speak out about this. I know this may not be solved in a day but we can work together to help each other, feel safe and feel loved in our skin,” said Ms Goliath.

On their Curves Must Benefit page they speak to issues affecting plus-size women, such as clothing styles, underwear designs, wearing swimwear, wearing dresses and confidence in men and women, to name a few, she said.

Brenda Steyn who was part of the photoshoot said it was the most liberating experience she’s had in a long time.

Brenda Steyn who was part of the photoshoot said it was the most liberating experience she’s had in a long time.

“I didn’t have to feel self-conscious as we were all in the same boat. No one was judging anyone. I had low self-esteem due to some bad experiences in my past. I was so afraid to say yes, but I figured it’s now or never. It was time for me to get out of the rut that I was in,” she said.

Society places a lot of emphasis on body weight, she said, and initially she had been scared to expose “this big fat body, to the world”.

“I continued to pray and talk to God about it. My desire was to be free. I’m a proud ambassador for CMB. God has done a miraculous work in me. I’m not afraid to be my authentic self anymore,” she said.

Samantha Green, part of the CMB movement described the photoshoot and being on a beach and surrounded by other women who embraced their true selves, as amazing.

Samantha Green is part of the CMB movement and also participated in the photoshoot.

“I wasn’t interested in attending at all, however I felt liberated by the whole experience. By the time I left the shoot I was boldly walking in my bathing costume with people walking past me and not once did I think to cover myself,” she said.

“I am excited to be part of Curves Must Benefit – and thankful. I’m excited to see what’s next and thankful that this group has given me the confidence to step out and feel adequate as a woman, to feel beautiful again,” said Ms Green.

She said when she was growing up she had been bullied about her appearance, and people had made fun of her.

“I wanted to silence their voices and their words towards me, I wanted to change that narrative,” she said.

“I finally found my purpose and that is Curves Must Benefit. All the testimonies made me cry. Words are strong, sometimes it hurts, we build up a wall sometimes to keep people out. We should not shy away from who we are and how we look. I won’t stop empowering these men and women. We are fearfully and wonderfully made,” she said.

On Saturday December 11 they are hosting a Christmas photoshoot in Tokai. In the new year they’ll be hosting their first Curves Must Benefit meet-up, she said.

For more information on Curves Must Benefit follow their Facebook page or email or call Ms Goliath on 065 184 9161.