October 18 marks the tenth anniversary of the National Organization for Women Foundation’s Annual Love Your Body Day (LYBD). For the past ten years, the Love Your Body Campaign has promoted healthy body images for women and girls through creative actions and consumer education. The campaign calls for women and girls to be in control of what makes them feel healthy and comfortable with their bodies, on their own terms and not based on unrealistic images promoted by advertisers and the mass media.
“Sex, Stereotypes and Beauty: The ABCs and Ds of Commercial Images of Women” is a new slide show presentation created by the NOW Foundation and available beginning today through the Love Your Body website (http://loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org) for viewing and download. This presentation illustrates ways that advertisers and the media enforce unrealistic beauty standards, sexual ideals and gender stereotypes that girls and women are expected to follow.
“‘Sex, Stereotypes and Beauty’ is a fast-paced and compelling way for women and girls to identify and think about the impact that these images have on their health and well-being, and what can they do about it,” NOW Foundation President Kim Gandy says. “Using examples from current advertisements, we brought these images together to present them in a way that will spark discussion. We hope that our chapters, or anyone visiting our website, will present the slide show, forward it to their friends, and use it to strategize ways to combat the daily barrage of messages that say to women and girls ‘You’re not good enough.'”
Hollywood and the fashion, cosmetics and diet industries work hard to make women believe that our bodies are unacceptable and need constant improvement. Print ads and television commercials reduce women to body parts — lips, legs, breasts — airbrushed and touched up to meet impossible standards. TV shows tell women and teenage girls that cosmetic surgery is a necessary step toward positive self-esteem.
“Is it any wonder that 80% of U.S. women are dissatisfied with their appearance?” asks Gandy. “The NOW Foundation is committed to empowering women to say, ‘Enough is enough!’ We want all women and girls to be positive about their bodies and not feel pressured by the media’s negative portrayals and pressure to conform — to look or feel a particular way.”