Body image has been a growing issue for women in the U.S. for decades. Society puts a lot of pressure on females to be “perfect," but what does perfect even mean?

Mark and Rachel Arruda of New Bedford are aiming to erase the social stigma placed on women and encourage the female population to rise up and support each other in their efforts to become the best version of themselves.

With over half a million supporters across the nation on Facebook, the Constantly Varied Gear “I Am Free” campaign is making some serious waves.

Mark and Rachel, owners of the New Bedford-based brand Constantly Varied Gear, started their merchandise company in 2014, specializing in workout equipment and attire for women. Since then, the brand has grown beyond fitness attire, thanks to their Facebook group Fitness Programming by CVG, a private and safe space for women to share fitness struggles and victories.

Kelsea Hellyar, Chief Brand Officer of CVG, felt that there was more to be done for women in creating a positive culture around body image. Many women have built-up anxiety about it and struggle with feeling comfortable in their own skin. It was Kelsea’s desire to create a statement video to show women that they are not alone and that it's possible to break free of self-doubt.

With the help of Kevin Luis, Video Producer for CVG, Kelsea, Kevin, Rachel, and Matt came up with an inspirational video titled “I Am Free.”

CVG writes, “We are taught to examine every inch of our body, it's imperfections, so we may correct and adapt them to society's image. One day I realized, however, I write my own permission slips.”

The video amassed 100,000 views in the first 24 hours, with thousands of shares and counting.

“The purpose of this video,” Kevin explained, “Is to get women to share their journey so they can inspire other women to do the same.”

I am a woman who doesn’t like what she sees in the mirror sometimes. It’s hard to admit, but knowing that I’m not alone makes the process of overcoming insecurities a little easier. That’s why groups like this one are so important. There truly is strength in numbers and I plan on sharing this message with the women in my life as I advocate for the acceptance of all body types.

If you or you know someone struggling with body image, have them join the Facebook group and get the support they need.

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