National NOW Times >> Winter, 2001 >> Article
Your Body Day Becoming a Popular Tradition
by Donna Hazley
NOW Foundation's Sept. 20 Love
Your Body Day was the biggest celebration yet in the campaign's three-year
history. Activists from across the country held events to bring attention
to negative images of women and girls in advertisements and media. While
speaking out against companies that exploit women in order to sell
products, participants also emphasized the need for women and girls to
feel comfortable in their own bodies.
"The goal of Love Your Body
Day is to let corporations and advertisers know that women refuse to
accept ideas and body images that are insulting and unhealthy," said NOW
Foundation Secretary/Treasurer Karen Johnson. "It is a day to take action
and take back the definition of what is considered beautiful."
impressive list of national, state and local organizations endorsed this
year's Love Your Body Day, including: American Medical Women's
Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Dads and Daughters, Ms.
Foundation for Women, National Black Women's Health Project, National Gay
& Lesbian Task Force, National Organization for Men and National
Women's Health Resource Center.
Many NOW chapters participated in the
2000 Love Your Body Day. Chapters organized actions and held house parties
where activists discussed the hazards of negative media images. They
organized letter-writing and petition-signing campaigns, distributed
information at public gatherings, sponsored local writing and poster
contests, and much more.
NOW New York City hosted a "Real Women
Fashion Show" with models of all ages, sizes and colors. Tallahassee NOW
presented a community workshop on positive body images.
NOW demonstrated outside the National Association of Broadcasters
convention where NOW Foundation's President Patricia Ireland and CA NOW
President Helen Grieco addressed both body image issues and the related
issue of corporate control of the media. (For more on media issues, see
Other NOW chapters and states participating included:
Indian River, Lincoln, Milwaukee, Akron Area, Grand Rapids, Broward, St.
Joe Valley, South Suffolk, York, Taos, Twin Cities, Fox Cities, Greater
Corning-Elmira, Rockbridge Valley and Pennsylvania.
And it wasn't
just feminist activists who got involved—schools (from elementary to
college), community centers, health care professionals, local
businesses—all kinds of people and establishments took part in Love Your
Body Day. The campaign reached out to hundreds who might not normally join
in a NOW action. Many newcomers wrote to the NOW Foundation expressing
their enthusiasm for the event.
The University of Massachusetts
Women's Resource Center held a contest for students to "Design Your Own
Barbie." A group at Mary Baldwin College held free breast cancer
screenings as part of a week-long program.
From campus awareness
campaigns, movie viewings, dances and walkathons, to teen mentorship
programs, exhibits, skits and poetry readings, the number of ways to
celebrate Love Your Body Day grew.
This year's campaign didn't
miss the Internet, either. Web sites like Grassroots.com, Largeworld.com,
UtopianEmpire.com, chickclick.com and fabulamag.com, all announced Love
Your Body Day with links to nowfoundation.org.
Love Your Body Day
grew out of the NOW Foundation's Women's Health Project, in an effort to
counter-act the negative influence advertising—particularly for the
tobacco, fashion and diet industries—has on women and girls.
year, the Women's Health Project produced a new video, "Hollywood's Smoke
and Mirrors: Women's Health at Risk," to continue the education work the
original "Redefining Liberation" video began. The new video features
interviews with such high-profile women as Tyne Daly, actor on "Judging
Amy"; Carol Moseley-Braun, ambassador to New Zealand; Dolores Huerta,
United Farm Workers co-founder; and Urvashi Vaid, National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force. Young women also share their viewpoints on how TV and
magazines encourage dieting and smoking. Chapters and other groups used
the videos to spark discussions in classrooms and at house parties.
Foundation provided anyone who was interested with information to help
celebrate the day, mailing out more than 4,000 Love Your Body kits. The
kits contained women's health fact sheets, petitions, action ideas and the
opportunity to order additional items such as the educational videos,
t-shirts and stickers. Organizers also received the 2000 Love Your Body
Day promotional poster, designed by grand-prize winner of the national
poster contest, Annette Granack from Moline, Ill. For information on next
year's Love Your Body Day, the poster contest and other related events,
call 202-628-8669, ext. 117.