This Wednesday, October 16th is Love Your Body Day. Love Your Body Day (LYBD) was founded by the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1997. NOW’s LYBD website explains the importance of LYBD:
“Hollywood and the fashion, cosmetics and diet industries work hard to make us believe that our bodies are unacceptable and need constant improvement. Advertisements reduce us to body parts — lips, legs, breasts — airbrushed and touched up to meet impossible standards. The media tell women and girls that cosmetic surgery is good for self-esteem. Is it any wonder that 80% of U.S. women are dissatisfied with their appearance? Together, we can fight back.”
In our age of constant advertising and 24/7 media available to us everywhere we go (including in our pockets) I often feel like our efforts to police and control people’s bodies (especially women’s bodies) seems to become more disturbing every year. This was made even more apparent to me after I found an article discussing young girls’ concerns about having a “thigh gap.” I posted this article on my Facebook page and it sparked a thoughtful discussion with some other friends of mine. My friend, Wren, had a particularly astute observation about the subject. She states, “When I was a teen in the early 90’s and even through my early twenties, we didn’t really have eyes on us the way young women do today. Certainly the trend of body shaming women isn’t new, but the enormous access that the world has to young girl’s bodies IS new, and significant. Social media is an amazing tool for activist organizing, but it also is a well of unrelenting images/media/blogs/and information that empowers the world to comment on them 24 hrs. a day.” Wren’s point (and the article’s point) is that our society essentially revolves around media and that social media in reinforcing and magnifying much of the body-hatred that we have all been dealing with for many years.
This intensified obsession with changing our bodies to fit unattainable and unhealthy beauty ideals shows how important it is for us to celebrate LOVING our bodies in all their splendid imperfections (or perfections depending on the viewer). LYBD also goes deeper than just loving your body but also knowing that you will be respected and valued as a whole human being, and not simply for the arbitrary makeup of your body. LYBD is about giving ourselves permission to love who we are, and to also quiet the voices inside our heads that encourage us to criticize who other people are. It’s about protesting our society’s campaign that tells us in order to love ourselves we must constantly be buying products and services to change our bodies.
I hope that you’ll come celebrate Love Your Body Day with the Women’s Center. We’ll be having events all day on Wednesday, October 16th. Here is our schedule for the day.
8:30-10am “Invigorate Your Body” Yoga with Eric Letourneaux
Start your LYBD2013 off right with some rejuvenating yoga.
10:30-11:30am “Time for Tea” with Molly Jo Stanley
Learn the ancient and timeless art of crafting homemade teas to nourish and heal the body, mind, and spirit.
12-1pm “Feed Your Body” Nutrition Information with Francie Astrom
You only have one body, so let’s feed it right! Learn some useful tips on finding body loving foods.
1:15-2:15pm “Protect Your Body” Safe Sex Trivia with VOX (Voices of Planned Parenthood)
Pretend you’re on a game show and learn about ways to keep your body safe!
2:30-3:00pm “Culture and Body Image” with Kendra Mathys
What kind of messages do we get about our bodies from popular culture? Discuss.
3:15-3:45pm “Trans* and Gender Variant Issues” with Jesper Beckholt
Think outside the gendered body binary.
4-5pm “Healthy at Every Size” with Jonathan Mosko and Kendra Mathys
Do you think “healthy” looks a certain way? Think again!
5:15-6:30pm “The Natural Body” with Ashley Osborne, Susanne Dietzel and Ihlana Mumford
Do you need to change your body for beauty? Learn why beautiful and natural don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Sarah Tucker Jenkins
Women’s Center Program Coordinator