Are you a mom to a teen or preteen daughter who struggles with body image issues? Do you feel overwhelmed and even hopeless when faced with the barrage of media images your daughter encounters every day? Maybe you are dealing with your own body image issues and fear you are passing those along to your daughter.
As mother to two preteen girls I have dealt with these same concerns. Working as an international fashion writer exposed me to many of the harmful tools used by the industry, especially in advertising media, to keep us feeling bad about ourselves by promoting an unreal standard of beauty. Believe me, Photoshop is only the tip of the iceberg.
I wanted to start a conversation with other moms who are dealing with the onslaught of negative media messages to which their daughters are exposed every day. To that end, I created a free report which outlines 7 lies the media tells that hurt your daughter’s body image (and maybe yours, too) and some concrete tips for improving self-esteem in practical and simple ways. You can access the tool by clicking here and signing up. You can opt out at any time if you find it is not for you.
What do you think of this collection of bare-faced celebrities? I think they look fantastic and you probably do, too, in your natural state. Make-up is fun but much more so when it is a want-to rather than a must-do part of your routine.
What’s your relationship with cosmetics: must-do or want-to?
I grabbed the pictograph from The Illusionists Facebook Page and I encourage you to click over and discover the upcoming documentary on the media’s commodification of the human body.
You’ve probably read about Disney’s collaboration with Barney’s New York in which its characters are rendered unrecognizable in an attempt to couture-ize them for the high fashion market. After reading the well-considered rebuke from the Academy of Eating Disorders provided by Ashley at Nourishing the Soul, I have to ask: “What was Disney thinking?”
Disney made the change to their iconic figures after a Barney’s rep said their original forms would not look good in designer clothing.
Disney might be excused for being out of the loop when it comes to fashion and body image discussion, but does Barney’s not keep up with the most mainstream fashion news including Vogue’s manifesto to clean up its body image messaging and Ben Barry’s latest research that women intend to purchase more when the model looks more like them?
How many of its own clientele is Barney’s insulting by saying designer clothing only looks good on ultra-tall super-slender body types?
The ridiculous assertion that only a certain body type is qualified to model designer clothing because it “hangs better” (let’s call it the draping philosophy) is completely outmoded and has been thoroughly debunked at this point.
If you are a mother, you have the best reason to seethe at this offensive ad campaign…your children. As AED states in its release:
Viewership of such images is associated with low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction in young girls and women, placing them at risk for development of body image disturbances and eating disorders. These conditions can have devastating psychological as well as medical consequences. [Barney's] campaign runs counter to efforts across the globe to improve both the health of runway models and the representation of body image by the fashion industry.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Time for a reality check. Just in case you haven’t seen the well-distributed evidence of Lady Gaga’s photoshopped cover in Vogue (who, by the way, recently agreed to present a healthier body image among models on its pages), here it is.
My daughter brought the issue to my attention. She pointed at the magazine cover while we were in Indigo book shop and stated matter-of-factly: “looks like Photoshop”. I’m pleased about her media savvy but many women and girls will look at that cover photo unaware they are viewing a lie. I’ve heard even Lady Gaga is upset about the adulterated image.
My daughter asked me an interesting question while we were finding the above before and after photo through a Google search: “Do you hate fashion magazines now?” I wasn’t sure what to say. I love fashion but I can’t stand when it is portrayed in such a narrow way, making beauty and style one-dimensional and unattainable.
The more subtle the Photoshop job, the more damaging the image to our psyche because it gets into our subconscious in a way that an obvious or botched attempt at altering an image cannot.
Although it helps to be aware of the lies media tells, most helpful to me has been my understanding of God’s all-encompassing love and that my body’s purpose is not to be admired or judged, especially by myself.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Hey there lovelies! My name is Rocquelle and I blog over at Consider Me Lovely. I was beyond honored when Laura asked me to guest post for her but also a bit nervous and intimidated, because I blog mostly about personal style, what I wore, my nail polish addiction, etc., and Laura has an awesome and completely different writing voice than my own .
I created a weekly series last year “Your Body Is Fabulous” in which I feature various women, they answer 6 questions and share their style, in hopes that someone may be encouraged and inspired by what they read or see. I am of the belief that clothes, fashion, style, etc., mean nothing if a woman doesn’t love the body she is dressing! A recent theme among some of the ladies I’ve featured has been focusing on the things you love about your body, which got me to thinking about what we say to ourselves and techniques I use to maintain a positive body image.
We all have times where we look at ourselves and think of how something can be improved or what we wish looked a bit different, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s what you do after that thought that makes the world of difference! So here are some things I do and say when I have such moments:
- • Stand in the mirror play my favorite music, dance and tell myself I look good until I believe it! Nothing like some Beyonce to make me think I am super fine .
- • Shift my focus. I am starting to gain a bit of weight, and when I see my stomach I think I need to do some crunches, but then I say “but the extra fat in my hips and booty look good!”
- • Remind myself that I am wonderfully made by God (for you it may be any being higher than yourself that you believe in or your momma). If God made me, how can’t everything about me be wonderful?!
- • Wear clothes that make me feel good! A skirt with a high waist, a belt, to cinch my waist, and a great pair of heels are the best medicine for my body image/bad day woes.
- • Surround myself with people who think I’m beautiful. Nothing worse than a boyfriend/husband, friends, or family members who put you down and don’t build you up.
- • Stop comparing my body to someone else’s, since comparison is often the root of many body image concerns.
- • Say aloud positive things about my body. “My skin is gorgeous.” “I am smart and pretty (I don’t have to be one or the other).” “My hair looks good.” “I am uniquely beautiful.”
- • Remind myself that we are all perfectly imperfect! No one is perfect, so I can’t expect myself to be.
What are some things that you do to maintain a positive body image or maybe want to start doing?
Please read and share the guest post I wrote for CRC Health, the leading provider of treatment and education programs for adults and youth:
My Facebook friend Nicki at Mango Tango Makeup Design posted this Vanity Fair cover shot of Twilight actress Kristen Stewart and asked of the image: “How much of her look is all airbrush, makeup and photoshop?! I kinda think it’s too much.” I’d have to agree, especially considering her audience is largely comprised of teenage girls. That might be the point: to reach a new demographic. But at what cost to our girls? These are the types of images that make them question themselves.
What do you think?
Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling’s, publisher asked her to use her initials so boy’s would read her books. Empowering Girls to Fly High: Times Have Changed…Right?
For many of us, exercise has been not-so-happily married to the idea of weight loss. Nourishing the Soul: Nine Ways to Love Moving Your Body
Why is it that it is so easy to put our needs on the back-burner? Medicinal Marzipan: A Summer Manifesto
Ben Barry’s article on benefits of model diversity received most feedback ever for an article in Elle Canada: Can Using Different Types of Models Benefit Brands?
I love Pinterest, but lately I’ve been shocked with all the pins about fat and weight. Feathers Flights: Body Image
From shirts to make a teen’s chest larger, undergarments to make bottoms more shapely and short shorts, it was all available. Pinole Patch: What Body Image Message Are Girls Getting?
Drama in our lives is not an attribute of a well-lived life. The Simply Luxurious Life: Why Not…Eliminate the Drama
Thinking about using what is a very sacred and private act to get ahead at work doesn’t feel empowering. The Gloss: I’m Embarrassed to Admit I Think Prostitution is Immoral
Because we cannot love others, help others, or support others if we hate ourselves. Already Pretty: Why Body Image Matters
Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by unrealistic, unattainable and often fabricated images of the human body – usually the young female body, usually being used to sell something. Women’s Views on News: Beauty, Body Image and the Media
Since 2009, I have been writing about body image as it pertains to the world of fashion (along with other aspects of the industry) and my most popular post on the topic was the piece about Abercrombie and Fitch’s push-up bra for young girls. The garment, marketed to girls as young as 7, caused such a stink among consumers I believe it was yanked from the shelves almost as quickly as it went up.
Now that my two little girls are 12 and 8, the issues around clothing and body image resonate more deeply and I’ve become increasingly concerned with the sexualization of young girls and the impact that might have on their psyche. I’ve led workshops with young girls on the truth about the fashion and beauty industries’ digitally altered and enhanced images and their narrow standards of beauty. I’m still fascinated to discover that many girls and women are unaware that fashion advertising images are not entirely realistic, and it’s important to get that message out.
I trained as a Girls Circle facilitator, a research-based approach to creating a safe and structured space for adolescent girls to connect with one another simply by taking turns talking about their feelings and concerns. A “talking stick” is passed around to indicate who has the floor, and interruptions, advice-giving, and gossip are prohibited. What’s said in Girls Circle stays in Girls Circle, unless the safety of one of the girls is compromised as in an abuse situation. The girls also have the opportunity to express themselves creatively through writing, drawing, dance, collage, and drama.
I’m hosting my next Girls Circle this summer in July and August, an 8-week session on body image for girls 10-14. I’ve learned that body image is the #1 factor in predicting self-esteem and that Girls Circle participants demonstrate a significant improvement in their perception of their physical appearance, as well as improvements in relationships, and expressing their needs to adults. Long-term benefits include reductions in alcohol use and other self-harming behaviours. So, if you’e a mom in the Toronto area or you know one whose daughter will benefit from a Girls Circle, leave a comment or email me at email@example.com. Click to find all the details at my Girls Circle blog.