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Archive for April 28, 2014

Veet Pulls Problematic Campaign

dudeness

Veet’s “Don’t Risk Dudeness” campaign comes from a simple, yet problematic concept: a woman who exhibits even the slightest amount of body hair is no longer viewed as a woman, but transforms into a (seemingly undesirable) man. We take several issues with this. First and foremost, having body hair is the natural state of most bodies. Choosing to remove it or not is a personal decision and, frankly, not a definitive one. You are so much more than the state of your body hair. Along those lines, femininity is not defined as the absence of said body hair. Women-identified folks grow hair all sorts of places. Remember this fierce Sikh rocking her beard? We love her! The way others perceive you does not define who you are and you can be a fabulous femme no matter what choice you’re making regarding your body hair. Moreover, we feel for the dude in this campaign. What does it tell him, and people who look like him, when this product is being sold to avoid being perceived as one of them? This campaign took messaging policing women’s bodies and included a jab making this man appear unappealing. Ouch.

So, the campaign came out, and it was offensive, and people reacted. The Representation Project launched a Twitter response under the hashtag #NotBuyingIt that got thousands of responses. Folks commented on the sexism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, and general shaming quality of these ads. Veet took notice- they removed the campaign and issued an apology.

 Veet apology

We devote Mondays on this blog to analyzing images and messages in the media and stories like this show why we do what we do. Having these conversations makes a difference. We envision a world with new media that is body positive and promotes a healthy relationship with food. You can be a catalyst for making this difference.

Have you seen something in the media that you’d like to respond to- good, bad, or maybe just thought provoking? Want to contribute to Media Mondays? Email julia.birdsall@emilyprogramfoundation.org to get started.

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Bloom like a Flower Garden

Submitted by Volunteer Layma Yutsyute

“The body is the sacred sanctuary of the soul. Care for it like a flower garden. Only when you honor, love and cherish your body can your spirit soar.”  – Ilana Rubenfeld

 

When I saw this quote, I had to immediately write it down. It explains why we should love our bodies and what that will do for us. I also think that we are “spiritual beings having a human experience”. So our bodies are like space suits that help us live here. If we were really going into space we would expect our space suits to be well taken care of, properly treated, strong and full of energy. The same goes for our bodies.

 

Another object I like to compare our bodies with is a car. Most of us have a car that we use daily. Some of us just use it as a form of transportation and others treasure it like gold.  In either case we put fuel in it, change its oil, wash it and make sure it is in good shape for us to drive. Our bodies need the same treatment. We need to put fuel in it, eat our food, keep up with maintenance by doing annual check-ups and keep our bodies in motion. We take care of our cars because we know they won’t work well without proper treatment. We should do the same with our amazing bodies. All of these things come natural to us when we love them. With love in our hearts it is easy to make healthy choices that will help our bodies bloom like a flower garden.

 

Not only will you feel good on the outside, you will feel good on the inside. Positive thoughts attract positive results in our lives. And what could be better than that? Nothing! When we love and take care of ourselves, things around us will change. Love is a powerful and contagious thing and it is stronger than any negative emotion. I encourage you to overuse the words, “I love you”. Say it to yourself, your significant other, your family and maybe even a stranger. If you put out love while also loving yourself, you will truly feel your spirit soar.

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A Reflection of the 2014 Lobby Day

Submitted by: Caroline Haut

MN lobby group at the capitol

Imagine standing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. surrounded by over 100 people who all share the same passion you have for improving the lives of those who struggle with an eating disorder. Pretty powerful, right? I have never walked into a room and felt so instantly connected with a group of people I have never met before. This was the power embedded in the stories we shared with each other, and this was Lobby Day 2014.

The Eating Disorder Coalition gathered people from all around the country, including volunteers from The Emily Program Foundation, to meet with and discuss issues related to eating disorders including research, education, treatment, and advertising. During these meetings, I came to realize that eating disorders are very hard for many people to understand. Overlooking the psychological factors that play a part in this mental illness, people often ask why someone who is struggling can’t simply “just eat” or “not eat so much.” This is why education is so important. I especially admired Representative Keith Ellison who possessed enough courage to ask us to please help him understand what struggling with an eating disorder is like. One of our team members was brave enough to answer his question, providing us with a chance to educate and inform him. This is just one example of how our voice CAN make a difference for so many people.

Through sharing our stories, discussing the Truth in Advertising and The FREED Act, we were able to work towards providing more people adequate access to treatment, insurance coverage, and to work towards eliminating some of the contributing causes of eating disorders. If you are interested in what we were doing in D.C., volunteer with The Emily Program Foundation, or sign the petition for the Truth in Advertising Act.

Together, we can make a difference.

 

 

 

Media Monday: Appearence and Education

Submitted by Volunteer Cheryl Ainslie-Waldman

I recall seeing a television advertisement whose structure and message I strongly disagreed with during the back-to-school months.  I most likely saw the television ads during football games, and I believe their target audience was elementary school-age children and their parents.  The ads were for K-Mart and depicted male and female children between the ages of 7 and 10 wearing makeup and strutting on a school bus and into a school building as though they were models on a catwalk.  Specifically, the commercial advertised back-to-school clothes and accessories from K-Mart.  I believe that the overall message of the commercial was that success in elementary school was directly related to how physically attractive and well-dressed students were.

I find the message of the commercial repugnant.  Although I am not yet a parent, I have memories of being teased in elementary school because of my own appearance and dislike the thought of any child experiencing such unpleasantness.  I also found the message to be in complete contradiction with the concept of education.  A student’s shade of lip gloss or matching clothing set would have little—if any—influence on how she performs in spelling, geography, or mathematics.  There is an element to academic and personal success that may depend upon one’s hygiene and general appearance, i.e., maintaining high self-esteem and effective interpersonal relations, but the notion that children must be attractive models on their first day of school is ridiculous.

Possibly, the commercial attempted to inspire excitement in children for the return of school.  I cannot say for sure without speaking to its creator.  I felt angry and uncomfortable when viewing the ad, and it was shown repeatedly for several weeks.  This ad has made it less likely that I will expose my niece, nephews, and future children to commercial television.  I feel that the advertisement was socially irresponsible and may result in decreased self-esteem in young children who may compare their own appearances to the children in the commercial.  In the long-term, this ad and similar ads may undermine elementary school education by encouraging attention to physical appearance over academics.

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Repairing

Submitted by Volunteer Danielle Hanson

– Getting Better –

My body is repairing itself.

 

My tummy is no longer a sinking hole of sadness,

It opens when I breathe and dances when I laugh.

And I can feel the very tips of my toes and fingers again, after years of dead hands and empty feet.

 

Does part of you ever wonder what it could have been like if everything wouldn’t have gotten so carried away?

 

Almost every day now I can carry myself with strong feet and a present mind that thinks about so much more than the calories in a bite of chocolate cake, or the guilt of even craving the taste.

 

You say you’re feeling better too, and I hope that means you can tell yourself how beautiful you are every time you walk beside your shadow, Every time you dry-off after a hot shower or get dressed.

 

You are so much more than your skin,

You are more than the size of your legs

and the muscles in your arms.

 

This is for all the girls who’re still struggling, all of the one’s on the road to recovery, and the ones who have nearly returned completely to their lost bodies.

 

In the misadventure of losing yourself and having to find the scattered pieces,

You will manage to become whole again—you will manage to become full again, and I hope you can be happy.

 

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