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Conversations with the Inspiring Kim Rounsefell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Rounsefell.

Kim, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia and finished high-school early in year 11. I was rebellious and keen to get out and find my independence by moving closer to the inner-city to experience life.

Starting as an office assistant, my career grew as I developed skills in computer programming, business analysis, and project management, learning on the job. I didn’t go to university after school, but as my interests changed, I enrolled in a diploma in graphic design much later. Looking back, it was a pretty good achievement getting into university without a high-school certificate!

Jumping forward, a few years of more work, and after having a family, I began to feel a desire to help others. I grew tired of working for large money-hungry corporations and, dreading the prospect of dry, corporate life. I returned to study Nutrition and Dietetics at 40 and was the oldest student in my cohort. That time managing family and the full-time study was a blur.

As I was finishing my degree, my husband got offered a job in California. Opportunity for overseas travel felt unachievable otherwise, so we decided to take the plunge. Little did I know this would send me into a spiral of ups and downs as I tried to find my way and identity in a new country.

When we moved, I had the opportunity to undertake a Ph.D. with my former Australian University. I was worried as to what I would do in the USA, so I jumped in head first! Well, I never imagined where it would lead. My research turned to explore the relationship between body image and social media, and it blew my mind. I decided it was time to get real-world experience and took a job in an Eating Disorder Recovery Centre here in California. This experience had a profound impact on me and my philosophy as a dietitian. It was at this time that I decided I wanted to connect with my community support body image from my learning and experiences in a different way.

I naturally moved to merge my three careers; Information Technology, Business, Graphic Design, and the intersection between physical and mental health.

And that is how thankubody began.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s been a bumpy ride that’s for sure.

It’s taken a long time to trust my intuition and give myself permission to approach supporting positive body image in a non-mainstream way.

I used to worry that my work on thankubody may come under scrutiny among my professional colleagues. But I’ve received nothing but support from my professional community. In many ways, I’ve been my own worst enemy in that way. It’s been a challenge and taken work to get through my inner-fears and self-limiting thinking. I journal regularly, read non-fiction, and try to reflect and stay true to my vision.

My advice for women would be to try and don’t be afraid to fail. If you’ve got something in your heart, go for it! It’s never too late. Sometimes opportunities present themselves in unusual ways. Give these a chance to evolve, even if it wasn’t what you originally envisaged for yourself. You never know where it might take you.

Take time out to reflect and to dream about what you want for your life and career. It’s guaranteed, there’ll be ups, downs, and bumps along the way no matter what you do, but the important part is persistence.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into thankubody story. Tell us more about the business.
thankubody is devoted to supporting positive body image through a range of small press zines (booklets), accessories, and regular blog articles.

The foundational principles underpin all of the work to supporting positive body image. These are i) supporting the mind and body connection, ii) acknowledging how our body functions as opposed to its features, and finally, iii) working to protect the body from external influences that can threaten how we feel about it, for example, ideal images in the media.

The thing that differentiates thankubody is it uses zines to support body image rather than online workshops or courses. The zines are handmade, making them imperfect in their way. I feel like zines are the ideal fit for this work because it aligns with thankubody’s core message. That our bodies aren’t perfect, they make mistakes, get sick, and may let us down from time-to-time. But, our body never stops trying to keep us safe. And that deserves some credit!

I think what I’m proud of is having an impact on people in a small and personal way. The aim of thankubody isn’t to be big. It’s to touch lives, to bring a smile when someone reads a zine, and thinks about their body differently.

Everything I do aims to acknowledge that everyone’s experiences of their bodies are different. I take a positive down-to-earth approach to everything here and seek to empower readers to take small achievable steps for their wellbeing.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I think it’s the way we represent women in our culture; that’s one of the biggest barriers to female leadership.

From a young age, girls, through the media they view and other cultural influences in their lives, hear the message that their body is an object for viewing, appraisal, and acceptance from others. Like a piece of art. In academia, this is called objectification.

This can result in girls internalizing this message and investing enormous time and energy trying to achieve physical perfection based on unrealistic beauty ideals presented in our culture.

This objectification can have devastating effects on young women. It stifles creativity, academic performance, and can result in long-term body dissatisfaction and disordered eating issues as well.

It breaks my heart. I’ll never forget seeing a 9-year-old girl on my son’s school bus, taking endless selfies of herself, then, vetting each one, modifying them, deleting them, until she feels her picture is perfect. It must change.

But, there is so much incredible work happening among organizations now at the environmental level aiming to change this narrative for women. But we have a long way to go.

The work I do with thankubody is my small contribution to helping in this plight.

Pricing:

  • Body Image and Self-Care Zines – $2.50 – $15
  • Support Button Pins and Magnets – $2.00 – $6.00
  • Self-Care Zine Making Workshops – P.O.A

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kim Rounsefell

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