Monday, June 2, 2008

Loving the Human Body, In Light of Advertising

--body + mind + spirit--

Advertising has for millions worldwide replaced those inner voices with manufactured messages. For women, the messages tend to dictate an inseparable link between body type and self image; creating unhealthy and unrealistic depictions of the ideal. The results of the phenomena are devastating. A shocking 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat and as many as 10 million women and girls suffer from anorexia and/or bulimia, in the United States alone.

Images on billboards, film screens and television sets display standards defined by Hollywood and the fashion industry. These images tell women and girls that their bodies are unacceptable and in need of constant improvement. Cosmetic products and fashion trends are sold as solutions to the "imperfect and unacceptable self." The phenomena invariably creates a dangerous epidemic of spiritual bankruptcy in women and additionally viciously distorts male perception of women. No one wins in this scenario - accept corporations who are rewared by billions of dollars every year spent on cosmetics, fashion, magazines and diet aids. Here are a few more eye opening statistics.

  • More than 80% of 4th grade girls have been on a fad diet (Social Issues Research Center).
  • The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by less than 5% of females (Social Issues Research Center).
  • The average weight of a model is 23% lower than that of an average woman; 20 years ago, the differential was only 8% (Social Issues Research Center).
  • Each year the U.S. spends over $33 billion on weight-reduction programs, diet foods and beverages, 95% of which fail to work (

On October 15th, 2008 the country will pay homage to this crises with a call for change on "Love Your Body Day." In honor of the event the NOW Foundation (National Organization for Women) organized a poster contest to capture the spirit of the event, above is this years winner, by Whitney Calvert.

To learn more about what you can do to support the cause individually or in programs at college campuses or even lower and middle elementary schools, go to the LOVE YOUR BODY site.

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