The average person sees up to 5,000 advertisements daily, according to the New York Times, which can add to the pressure to look or come across a certain way when it comes to your appearance. Today is Love Your Body Day (LYBD), a project started by the National Organization for Women about a decade ago. I think this is a great time to stop and think about how all the marketing around us can potentially impact us to dislike or want to change our bodies.
Now you may be thinking, “Courtney, you’re whack! I’m not impacted by marketing at all!” Even if you feel this way and even if it’s true, think about your friends and family around you. Negative self talk about body image is everywhere. How many times have you been with a group of people and a cycle starts where one person will criticize their own body and a litany of complaints will begin. Remember that scene from Mean Girls?
Karen: God. My hips are huge!
Gretchen: Oh please. I hate my calves.
Regina: At least you guys can wear halters. I’ve got man shoulders.
Cady: [voiceover] I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there’s lots of things that can be wrong on your body.
Gretchen: My hairline is so weird.
Regina: My pores are huge.
Karen: My nail beds suck.
[pause. All look at Cady]
Cady: I have really bad breath in the morning.
One challenge I pose to you today is to point out to your friends when this cycle starts. Don’t just sit by and watch the wonderful people in your life worry over the size of their thighs or texture of their hair. When we start pointing out when people are bringing themselves down, we can start the change the way people see themselves.
It’s a fact, and perhaps a sad one, that advertising probably isn’t going anywhere so there’s a second challenge I pose to you: Start to be critical of the ads you see. In Women, Fear and Makeup, I discussed the need to see through ads and realize when something is too good to be true. Let’s face the fact that even the most beautiful women in the world are photoshopped. The unrealistic standard of beauty doesn’t exist. Not even for them.
How are you planning on celebrating Love Your Body Day?
This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.