BCCA Group (Image: Elliot Parrot)

Earlier this month, the BCCAs, otherwise known as the Body Confidence Canada Awards, took place in Toronto. Vv Magazine’s Ama Scriver fills us in on what is is and why it’s so important. 

It has been four years since Jill Andrew, PhD(c.) and Aisha Fairclough launched their passion project, the Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCAs) into the world. What started as a small gathering amongst community members in the fat activism and body positivity world, has grown into an event that sparks dialogue, deep discussion and honors diversity for all bodies.

While the term ‘body positivity’ has garnered a lot of promotion and press as of late, it’s hard to pin down exactly (by some) what it means. With body positivity rooted in the fat activism movement, it encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being. In the press, we’re seeing more and more diversity in regards to body shapes, race, gender, and diversity – but still, more needs to be done and the conversation still needs to be brought up.

BCCA Trophies (Image: Valida Jafarov)

Both Andrew and Fairclough saw an opportunity back in 2012 when body positivity was still a fairly new term (for some) to start their own body image awareness campaign. It was from those initial conversations that the Body Confidence Canada Awards was born. The awards were an opportunity to not only showcase, but celebrate and uplift the tireless activists and advocates in the community whose personal and professional lives embodied and inspired body confidence, body positivity, and body diversity.

New styles from Topshop are here. Shop the latest trends at NORDSTROM.

With more and more folks dealing with bodily discrimination on a day-to-day basis, their aim was to create a positive space to highlight the beauty in all bodies. While the event is currently invite-only, both Andrew and Fairclough hope that will change soon, with growth. Luckily, I had the opportunity to attend the awards on October 6th and it gave me a moment to not just connect with other like-minded folks in a celebratory way, but to really reflect on my own body and internalized struggles. For many, the body positivity journey is never complete.

“Building confidence is one thing but maintaining our confidence is a lifelong journey.”

As more and more folks experience body image issues, a space like the BCCAs can be one of inspiration and strength. “It has become poignant just how important the dialogue BCCAs encourages is,” explains Andrews. Many of the honored award winners that evening, in categories including human rights, arts & culture, education, media and health & wellness — to name a few — showcased that no matter the work you’re doing, your voice matters. The award winners are fighting the inequalities of the world and demanding to take up space, showing everyone in the room that we too can achieve that. Former Body Confidence Canada Award (BCCA) Recipient in 2014, Ophilia Alleyne explains, “As a former victim of bullying and domestic abuse, my journey to confidence was not easy. I was honored & floored to be … in front of a room full of individuals who applauded me and understood my journey. I believe that building confidence is one thing but maintaining our confidence is a lifelong journey.”  

The dance floor at the BCCAs (Image: Elliott Parrot)

While everybody has a story, it’s important for events and spaces like the Body Confidence Canada Awards to take place and give us the reminders we need. We’re forever indebted to Jill Andrew and Aisha Fairclough who are continuing the shape the dynamics of current and future body based conversations in Canada. I think Abby Green, this year’s Youth winner, explained it best in her acceptance speech, “Body confidence isn’t about fitting into a mold of one idea of beauty, it’s about accepting your body as it is.”

RELATED LINK: Body Image Issues: Yes, Men Have Them Too 

What are your thoughts on the Body Confidence Canada Awards? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.