Promoting a Healthy Body Image

By Marsha Hudnall on 05/17/2006
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Today is Turn Beauty Inside Out Day, an effort by Mind on the Media, whose mission is “to Open_eye inspire independent thinking and foster critical analysis of media messages.” Their initial project is this campaign, with which they hope to foster participation, discussion and awareness of images of girls and women in the media. 

I don’t think it’s possible to explain this better than they do on their site:

“Turn Beauty Inside Out” (TBIO) began with the Girls Editorial Board of New Moon® Magazine, a group of 8-14 year olds from Minnesota.  In 2000 they decided to produce a special issue of the magazine to counteract and protest People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” issue which focuses on physical appearance and celebrity.  They feel such a narrow, exclusive idea of beauty, prevalent in our culture, is very harmful to girls like themselves.  So they created the special issue in May of 2000 and were excited by the fantastic response it received from kids and adults alike. 

Can’t argue with that. 

Here are a few of the ideas the girls came up with for the advertising industry:

·        Don’t just think how it’s going to affect the target audience but everybody that is going to see the ad (boys, girls, kids, etc.)

·        Don’t assume that the people who are going to see the ads are "mindless droids"; their opinions really matter.

·        Only show women and girls when you NEED them to sell the product.

·        Don’t cut up body parts…show the woman as a whole person.

·        Use a variety of body sizes and shapes in your ads.

·        We need more diversity in ads, use more people of color.

·        Just try to sell the product without presenting it by using "sex" or any other provocative suggestions.

·        Ads make girls self esteem really low and depressed, we want ads to not do that, they should encourage and build the self esteem not take away from it.

·        Use the body in the appropriate way, stop dressing them in skimpy (or no) clothes.

·        “Girlcaught”…girls are going to catch the bad ads and call companies on them.

Can’t argue with that, either.  Whether advertisers will ever listen is another story.  But we can, and profit from the experience.  It’s all about self and size acceptance.  Just reading these ideas makes me feel better.

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