Many refuse to believe that we have an issue with body image, and many refuse to acknowledge the impact that mass media, including advertisements, television, film, music, etc., have on our perception of beauty; they claim “freewill!” and say that we have control over our own self-perceptions. To an extent, I agree, but for the most part, I disagree. Our perceptions of “self” are wrapped up in what we’ve learned throughout however long we’ve been alive, whether that’s from family members or other important people in our lives. But answer this: where do we think our parents learned about what’s acceptable? Society. Culture. Pop culture. Media. And media has also damaged how we view others.
It’s time to take that back.
A new ad campaign has emerged and it’s provocative, controversial, and exactly the [large] dose of reality that we as a culture need so desperately. That’s where the brilliant #StopTheBeautyMadness comes in. Their website states that the campaign is:
about strong words that reveal the ideas that need to be seen for what they are. It is not always pretty to see what is hidden deep in our psyche (or even just slightly under the surface), but it is important to see it clearly so that we may call it out and change it […] Welcome to a new world – one we are creating right here and right now. In this new world, our beauty is defined by whole-self qualities, not eye-to-nose and bust-to-waist-to-hip ratios. In this world, we KNOW we are more than our appearance, our size and our shape. In this world, we are throwing off our role as sales-hypnotized consumers and getting on with the task of changing the world.
Now more than ever this world needs us to stop shrinking behind ideas that are too small for us.
So we are here in mass to disturb the peace in beautiful, powerful ways. We are here to create a new culture around beauty. We are here to save ourselves and our children from our own childish and destructive obsessions. We are here to stand tall, AS IS, and get on with our lives.
This is exactly what I’m trying to fight against. These are the types of images that can simultaneously push boundaries and start a revolution on the body image front.
WARNING: The images below are meant to bring about a feeling of discomfort. They’re also mean to start conversations. They are not pieces meant to perpetuate the already established stereotypes and belief systems; they’re meant to dig deep inside your mind and get you to truly think about these images.
- Step 1: Look at each image carefully
- Step 2: Examine the juxtaposition of text and picture. Look at the entire composition. How does the text feed into the visual? How does the visual enhance the text? What does the text say about you, the viewer?
- Step 3: Examine your previous knowledge of the subject. Think about all the images of women in the media (the stick-thin model, the bleach blonde bombshell, the over-sexualization of younger girls, the marginalization of older women and larger women.)
- Step 4: Ask yourself why you may feel uncomfortable with these images
- Step 5: Think about what you can do to spread the word and stop the beauty madness, once and for all!
Source for all images: stopthebeautymadness.com