In the United States, 10 million women and girls suffer from anorexia and/or bulimia, 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat, and young women who have anorexia are 12 times more likely to die than other women their age.
Often advertisers objectify women for the sake of selling alcohol, furniture, luggage, or just about anything. In Jean Kilbourne’s book “Deadly Persuasion: Why Women and Girls Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising,” she claims that “advertising is our environment.” Although many people claim to not be influenced by advertisements, the average American views more than 3000 ads in one day.
In addition to objectifying women, the NOW Foundation blames the cosmetic and advertising industries for promoting images of airbrushed “perfect” women which in turn affects the self-esteem of women and girls. Education Vice President Erin Matson says that the unrealistic portrayal of a woman’s body is only naturally possessed by less than five percent of women.
“Let’s Talk About It,” a project of NOW Foundation’s Love Your Body Campaign, has received thousands of posters for the Love Your Body contest every year. You can send the posters as e-cards to anyone in your life who needs to hear the message that their body is beautiful just the way it is.
This year, coinciding with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, NOW has upped the ante by featuring videos in addition to posters. Currently you can submit your own video or watch others like Matson talk about their failures and successes while learning to love their body.
Matson encourages people to submit their videos:
Your voice might be the one that reaches a girl or woman who is struggling with her self-image. And together, the more videos we create, the more we become part of the solution.
Learning to love your body and encourage others to do the same is part of the puzzle. Commend yourself and those around you on their personality, humor, and achievements. After all, as a winning poster from Love Your Body suggests, you can’t buy self-esteem.