Ways to Combat the Media's Body Image Message

What can we do to begin to combat the messages we get from the media including magazines and television?

How can we make a difference in the world and begin to teach people to respect who we are as a person on the inside rather than what we look like on the outside?

When am I going to say, This is enough! I am going to refuse to pay attention to what other people think when they judge how I look. I am going to refuse to give away my power to a society that worships a handful of super models who use airbrushed photos!

The PBS website has a marvellous article called Perfect Illusions. The beginning paragraph states, One of the ways we can protect our self-esteem and body image from the often narrow definitions of beauty and acceptability is to become a critical viewer of the messages we are bombarded with each day. Media messages about body shape affect the way we feel about our bodies and ourselves only if we let them! When we recognize and analyze the media messages that influence us, we remember that the definitions of beauty and success do not have to define our self-image or potential. We must use our creative minds to view all media with a discriminating eye. All media images and messages are things that are made up. They are not reflections of reality. Advertisements are created to do one thing: convince you to buy or support a specific product or service. We see what advertisers want us to see to convince us to buy a specific product or service. Advertisers often will make up an emotional experience that looks like reality. Just because they think their approach will work with you, it does not mean it has to work with you! As individuals we decide how we want to experience media messages. We can choose whether we want to think or believe the message. We can use a filter that protects our self-esteem and body image. (I like to put on my super-dooper protective bubble!)

1. When you see an ad or hear a message that makes you feel bad about yourself, your body, or others by promoting only thin, formulaic body ideals, talk back to the TV and advertiser by writing a letter.

2. Make a list of companies who consistently send negative body image messages and make a conscious effort to avoid buying their products.

3. Write them a letter explaining why you are using your buying power to protest their messages.

4. Get your friends and/or students at your school or work to join you. There is power in a grass-roots movement.

5. You can tear out the ads you find offensive and send them to the advertiser with the message: I do not want them.

6. Consumers have much more influence with corporations than we realize. Corporations are so competitive with each other in today's world as they fight to get our attention. They have to be flexible and responsive so just a few people raising their voices can make a huge difference. We can look upon this as seed planting. Our seeds will sprout and grow. it might take some time but we can make a beginning in changing our culture!

We can be strong and change the world in which we live!

Author: Jeanne Rust  Site: mirasol