- harmful coping mechanisms such as self-harming, eating disorders or drugs and alcohol
- hiding/fixing - e.g. avoiding social gatherings that involve swimming or trying to fix your body with extreme diets etc.
- developing body image resilience by recognising that your body is an instrument, not an ornament.
Summer is almost here and for some of you the thought of putting on a pair of bathers is enough to bring you out in a cold sweat. Lindsay Kite from Beauty Redefined tackled the issue of body image disruption in her recent TED Talk. Body image disruption can be sparked by a painful experience that magnifies body shame, such as trying on bathers. Women and girls respond to this by taking one of three paths:
Taryn Brumfitt has some great ideas on how to embrace your body. It was written for Valentine's Day but it's important all year round. I love these ones in particular:
I finally got around to watching the Embrace documentary on body acceptance by Taryn Brumfitt. It's rated M so you probably want to watch it with your Mum if you're under 15. Watch it with your sister or get some friends together - but just watch it. I wish I had watched it when I was a teenager. It is a bit confronting in places and nothing is out of bounds, but her message is liberating and so important in a society where we are body shamed if we don't fit the perfect body shape (and seriously, who does?). The DVD is available at JB Hi-Fi, Sanity, Big W and online at iTunes. My local library has a copy for loan as well.
This Fotoshop ad pokes fun at the beauty industry by saying that you don't need the latest miracle cream - you just need to retouch your photos. It's a timely reminder that many of the images we see on Instagram, magazines and advertisements aren't real.
I love this mantra from Beauty Redefined. They suggest focussing on how you feel and what your body can do rather than what it looks like.
10 year old Kheris Rogers from Los Angeles was bullied for her skin colour. Her 22 year old sister, Taylor Pollard, posted two photos of Kheris on Twitter with the hashtag #FlexinInMyComplexion which received 83 000 likes. Kheris decided to start her own fashion label selling t-shirts with the hashtag. Taylor said, "I just hope that especially for younger kids, people start to feel more confident in their skin. It doesn't matter how dark or light you are, just knowing that it's beautiful and that your complexion doesn't determine your beauty."
A lot of fuss has been made recently over using plus size models and athletes in fashion shoots. Some people see this as progress, but as Lindsay and Lexie at Beauty Redefined point out, "As if seeing more and different undressed bodies will reduce this world’s obsession with valuing women as bodies above all else. As if seeing more bodies could ever convince women they are more than bodies."
Popular American magazine, Sports Illustrated, releases a Swimsuit issue each year (which is also their best selling issue each year). These feature barely dressed women who are usually models, not sportswomen. In comparison, their other issues during the year feature men suitably clothed and playing sport. It's time we celebrate women for their sporting achievement, not their bodies.
You can read more at www.beautyredefined.net.