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National NOW Times >> Summer, 2000 >> Article

Love Your Body Day Promotes Positive Body Images

by Holly Fodge, Foundation Intern

Mark your calendars NOW! On Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2000, the NOW Foundation will celebrate the third annual Love Your Body Day. As in past years, activists will continue to protest advertisements that are offensive and disrespectful to women and girls. Love Your Body Day provides a day of action to speak out against the tobacco, fashion, cosmetic and diet industries' promotion of unrealistic, dangerous body images.

These images are everywhere, and they aren't a joke. Since the introduction of tobacco advertising that equates liberation ("You've come a long way baby!") and thinness with smoking, lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as a leading killer of women. Today's supermodels weigh 25 percent less than the average model did 20 years ago. Currently 80 percent of fourth grade girls have already been on a diet.

In preparation for Love Your Body Day, the NOW Foundation is working to increase awareness of the campaign and what people can do to counteract and stop the negative effects produced by the harmful images of women. The Foundation is displaying posters, distributing fact sheets and petitions, and compiling results from a national survey on body image.

The campaign is also collecting examples of advertisements that are particularly exploitative in preparation for a new corporate education project that will encourage advertisers to highlight responsible and accurate images of women and girls.

The NOW Foundation held a poster contest in May in order to find a design for the 2000 Love Your Body Day poster. Art students, graphics professionals and first-time designers-young and old-participated in this year's contest. The winning design by Annette Granack will be used to promote this year's action.

NOW chapters, schools and others across the country have already planned events for this year's Love Your Body Day. New York City NOW again will hold its annual Love Your Body Day rally aimed at denouncing the billboards featuring emaciated women that dominate Manhattan's streets. National NOW interns, in conjunction with Capital City NOW, are planning to hold an alternative fashion show in Washington, D.C., in which participants will express why they love their bodies, and what kinds of clothes make them feel comfortable and beautiful.

In the past NOW chapters have organized events including: holding speak-outs and news conferences; giving awards to local merchants for their positive, and calling attention to their negative, portrayals of women; performing plays and readings; hosting house parties; writing letters to, or petitioning, magazines and advertisers whose ads are offensive to women and girls; and presenting workshops on body image, self esteem, nutrition and health.

Activists can contact their local NOW chapter to find out what they're doing or organize an action of their own like the ones above-just don't miss out on this energizing day.

The NOW Foundation has developed kits to help activists and organizations celebrate the day. The 2000 Love Your Body Day kit has information on how to get involved, as well as some fun new items. Available in the organizing kits are stickers, books, t-shirts, new slogan ideas and the new 2000 Love Your Body Day poster. This year the Foundation also plans to release a new video, "Redefining Liberation Too!" which illustrates the contemporary issues of women's health, including the negative effects of tobacco advertising geared toward women and girls in today's society.

The goal of Love Your Body Day is to let companies and advertisers know that women refuse to accept ideas and body images that are insulting and unhealthy. It is a day to take action and take back the definition of what is considered beautiful.

"Through this campaign, women and girls will take control of our own images and lives," said NOW Foundation President Patricia Ireland, "so that we can love our bodies every day."

For more information and to review results of the National Body Image Survey, please visit www.nowfoundation.org. To receive an action kit, call (202) 628-8669 ext. 117. Please send offensive advertisements, with an explanation of where the ad came from, to Donna Hazley, NOW Foundation, 733 15th St. NW, Washington DC 20005.

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