I love my thighs, they are powerful and strong. I love my stomach, it is my core. I am beautiful, and I embrace my body. What is your reaction to these self-assured declarations? What would you think of a woman with the courage to say them? When was the last time you dared to utter a statement like these? Why is it radical to think your body is beautiful?
Yesterday was NOW Foundation’s 13th annual Love Your Body Day. This was a day to stand on a mountain and shout to the world “I AM BEAUTIFUL AND NOT ASHAMED OF IT!” At the National NOW headquarters in Washington, D.C., we celebrated Love Your Body Day by reaching out to the community through art. In Franklin Park, we set up a table and created visual representations of what we love about our bodies and how we express that love. The eyes of passersby lit up when they heard our message of celebration. Women (and men!) stopped to create artwork in celebration of their bodies. These beautiful pieces were displayed around the park for all to see. Everyone left with a smile on their face, many saying they planned to bring the message back to women and girls in their lives. In today’s world, self acceptance is sneered at, while fat talk and dissatisfaction with one’s physique is encouraged. The time, energy and money spent on the message that women’s natural bodies need improvement has created a damaging, sometimes deadly, environment for women and girls. Eight out of ten women in this country are dissatisfied with their appearance. Many literally are killing themselves in an attempt to resemble the bodies seen on billboards, in magazines, and on TV– unnatural images created through cosmetics, plastic surgery and Photoshop. A stunning 80 percent of 10-year-old girls have dieted, and girls as young as five express a fear of getting fat. Fight back. Use your voice to say we will not accept degradation and dehumanization any longer! The next time you look in the mirror, smile and embrace with love what you see. Sing yourself a love song and feel the meaning in each word. Teach your daughters, sisters and friends that they are perfect without unnatural alterations. Dance together with joy, letting the confidence that we are all beautiful exactly as we are power every move.