Love Your Body Day

October 19 is Love Your Body Day, something I’ve been celebrating since I was introduced to the concept in college at San Diego State University by the courageous members of the National Organization for Women. Erin Matson, NOW’s Action VP had this to say about body image and loving yourself. And while I very much appreciate Meghan McCain’s courage in posing for the NOH8 Campaign and openly discussing body image issues, the photo chosen by Hollywood NOW to showcase their Celebrity Host could not possibly fit any tighter into the media box of what women in America are supposed to look like. Welcome to the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.

Many issues arise when talking about body image, especially for women; and for all we (especially feminists) talk about personality and intelligence and inner-strength being more important than outer-beauty… the truth is, in every society, women are judged on outward appearance.

From men in America and the UK navigating body image standards set up by advertising and the porn industry to transsexuals in Iran fighting stigmas of “abnormality” to young girls in Cameroon being subjected to breast ironing to the more than 100 million girls and women worldwide suffering the effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), unfortunately our bodies are battlegrounds.

Eating disorders affect more than 10 million people a year in the US alone, so think twice before you praise someone for loosing weight. Eating disorders affect women, girls, boys and men around the world, with silverchair’s frontman Australia-native Daniel Johns being one of the most recognized male celebrities suffering from anorexia anywhere. Because of the incredibly unhealthy body images fed to us by the media cosmetics is a multi-BILLION dollar industry and rates of plastic surgery to “beautify” everything from earlobes to vaginal labia are skyrocketing.

So, as always, I want to give suggestions for you to improve the world around you. How can we fight the Ariel complex of altering our bodies and loosing our voices to be attractive?What can you do to promote realistic body images of real people? Speak up! Learn to accept that hundreds of body types exist and are natural; don’t give in to media standards fueled by capitalist greed designed to make you spend money; demand that stores carry your size clothes and shoes whether you’re a naturally tiny size 0 or a naturally curvy size 20; look up to real people around you for inspiration, your teachers, parents, and mentors, not airbrushed and nip/tucked celebrities; if someone tells you you’re ugly/fat/unloveable/don’t-fit-neatly-into-the-claustrophobic-boxes-built-by-the-media, tell them to fuck off; and send sexist ads into Ms. Magazine’s No Comment section. Understand that differences, especially body differences like sex, (dis)ability and race, are beautiful!

Finally, what’s the most important thing you can do? Love your body! “The moment we choose to love, we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love, we begin to move toward freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.”- bell hooks

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About feministactivist

Many words describe me but none more so than activist. I am dedicated to equality of all people and have a special focus on gender issues including reproductive justice, sexual violence, and strategic nonviolent action. View all posts by feministactivist

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