'Unapologetically fat' body positive campaigner urging woman to believe they're 'divine, powerful, bad ass'

An American woman living in New Zealand who runs workshops to help people feel positive about their own bodies believes images of so-called perfect women's bodies have gripped the world.

Sonya Renee Taylor, founder of the movement The Body is Not An Apology, says she's "unapologetically fat" but "the word itself doesn't have negativity in it".

Ms Taylor told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp that magazine images of so-called perfection "are telling you something about what women should be, what sort of bodies are valuable".

"Everything from their hands to their body size, race or gender, I think we have so many messages every single day that tell us that something is wrong with us," she said.

The black American woman shaved her head after being teased at school because tufts of her hair were falling out.

She addressed a group of women in New Plymouth, giving them her take on unapologetic self love.

"As soon as we get clear that we are divine and powerful and bad ass, just as we are, we have a whole different way of moving through the world," she said. 

But if women don't see themselves that way, "it's like picking a husband you hate and then never getting divorced, which some people do. That's not an unusual action, but it is a miserable one".

Ms Taylor said her movement today is "a digital magazine and education platform, and we do workshops for thousands of people around the world".

Asked if she has found many differences between New Zealand and the United States, she said: "I found that a lot of the issues in Aotearoa are much more inward focused, when I think about issues of suicide and the issues of domestic violence".

"Why are young people in New Zealand killing themselves?" she asked at her workshop. 

"That's not happenstance. It's part of a larger system that tells you that you're not valuable."

As well as women's groups, Ms Taylor wants to visit schools to say few words that for some will make all the difference.

"You have always been beautiful," is her message.

Sonya Renee Taylor believes if you get that right, everything else will fall into place. Source: Seven Sharp