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October 29, 2006

Link of the Week

Check out the TLC Link of the Week:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

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and the accompanying link:  http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.ca/

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Have a daughter?  Tell us your story.



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Wow -- this is really something. On the one hand, it's an awesome video and set of resources with a powerful, important message about not buying in to popular media visions of beauty. Kudos and huzzah! I would love to see every mother, sister, aunt, teacher, etc. take an active role in creating strong, positive body images for girls (and each other, for that matter!). And I strongly recommend martial arts or other sports as part of that package (speaking from my own experience . . . .).

On the other hand, this message is brought to us by a company that uses, um, current cultural visions of health and beauty to get us to buy products designed to make us look younger and, hence, more beautiful (check out the product descriptions on the company's website -- I don't know how else to read their claims that their products will make my skin look firmer, younger, and more radiant). Granted, the models aren't cookie-cutter versions of tall-and-too-skinny-and-enhanced. But still, the message is that my body isn't OK the way it is and needs help to Be All That It Can Be. Mostly younger.

Here's another issue I've been grappling with for several years now. We all know that one of the consequences of our current obsession with Thin is the frightening prevalence of eating disorders, primarily in younger women. And I have expressed my disgust to Title Nine Sports over the fact that the largest size they carry for many of their items is a 12. (Can you believe that? This is Title Nine we're talking about!!) But a greater proportion of Americans, including kids, are overweight and obese than are affected by eating disorders. According to the National Institutes of Health, for example, the high-end estimate for the combined prevalence of anorexia and bulimia is around 8%; it's 16% for adolescent overweight according to the CDC (and 30% for obesity in adults -- which is anyone over 20).

So here's the question: how do we encourage empowering body images that do, as the website suggests, let us all feel beautiful every day while also promoting real health and well-being?

When we've got the answer to that one, I think we should tackle world peace next. It ought to be a cakewalk by comparison :)

That is one powerful video - especially the end. Even with all the magic of make up and stylists, the model is still not acceptable - so the computer makes more changes.

I'm sending this link to my daughter and her friends.

Another scary manifestation -- other than eating disorders -- is the self-mutilation through plastic surgery that happens so nonchalantly these days. And it's interesting how promoters of plastic surgery appropriated the language of self-esteem and empowerment. If wrinkles make you feel bad about yourself, seize control and Botox them away. If you'd feel better about yourself with implants, you owe it to yourself to get them, etc etc.

How many people really find the end result more attactive? I saw Joan Rivers on tv the other day. Her face was so frozen from Botox and plastic surgery that she could barely speak. How far away is Nicole Kidman from that fate? How will she be able to act when she can't show emotion on her face? The result is positively disfiguring.

I have two young daughters (22mos and 4 1/2 years) and have given a lot of thought to this issue.

I have intentionally not exposed them to much in the way of pop media culture (no television, Disney books/movies and the toy section at the store). Now here is where it gets interesting, we had our first parent teacher conference and the preK teacher was frustrated by my daughters independence. Since she has not been planted in front of a video, she has already started to think critically and play independently. She does not have a tv character to model her play after and her idea of how girls act is not advised by media. This frustrates her teacher (which I can understand) but these qualities will do a lot more for her in the long run than wanting to just conform and get along (which I think is a very strong message given to people in our culture). I am pretty certain that independent boys are not nearly irritating to her teacher.

Both girls are conventionally pretty, but we always emphasize that the beauty inside of you, how you treat others and the world is most important.

I am physically active and we talk about having strong bodies to go with our strong minds. I know from myself that if you find activities that use the body and make you feel strong, the lumps and bumps are not so defining. They both have good appetites and I have not gotten into the "clean plate club" of my generation.

So, I guess our focus is on the person, not just the package. It is hard, since my dad was cruel about my "package", but that made my resolve all the stronger. They will eventually get the message from their culture, but their family, the people that love them unconditionally will not reenforce the message.

Pretty much guaranteeing that my daughters will be like Alex P. Keeton... but I did my best!

This campaign is very dear to my heart. I am the mother of a 13-year old daughter and a Girl Scout leader. I spend a lot of time with young teen girls and I hear and see how media images affect them.

These girls need to know that the images of beauty they see in the media are fakery. They need to see real women acting as role models. They need to gain self-esteem from their abilities and their successes rather than their appearances. I hope I'm offering the girls I lead opportunities to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments, but I can only make a difference in my little corner of the world. I'm glad that Unilever is willing to make this statement in a way that can have an effect on many more girls.

The link in the original post above is for the Canadian website. The U.S. site is at http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com. This only matters if you want to make a donation to the Dove Self-Esteem fund, because the money will stay in the country of the site where you donate. In the U.S, the donations go to the Girl Scouts of the USA Uniquely Me programs.

Take heart everyone. I remember being a teeager and young 20 something trying to look like Liz Taylor now I'm trying NOT to look like Liz Taylor.
Remember those stars have a job to do besides acting and that is too look good.Unlike us who do many other jobs and try to keep fit in between, they can workout at the gym for 8 hours a day because that's their job. Their body is their instrument.
And it is really funny to see those Botox fat lips that can't smile or laugh and look like they got stung by a bee. Bee sting lips.
SOOO not to worry some day you will also try NOT to look like Nicole Kidman and all the others. Did you ever notice how they go into hiding once they get old?

It goes both ways. There's a plastic surgeon here in Houston who does TV and radio ads that begin "Does losing your hair make you feel less of a man?"


"I'll take "Not in THIS lifetime" for 200, Alex....."

William - THAT is Man Law.

Ve-r-r-y interesting. Now, let's see some "normal" female bodies...you know what I mean? Someone who wears something other than size 0 or 2

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