Instead of uniting with women as more than bodies to be looked at, fixed, and judged, why are so many of us preying on each others’ insecurities by selling objectifying, unrealistic ideals to our social media contacts? Friends, we need to be more kind and compassionate to each other. Today, unattainable, degrading beauty ideals are flooding social media from women in multi-level marketing companies selling beauty and diet products to their loved ones online. We are committed to revealing harmful media ideals, and the marketing of “skinny wraps” is an especially dangerous trend because these messages infiltrate our social networking feeds, teaching us about our so-called “flaws” through our own peers.
If you are selling body wraps, skin contouring creams, and fat-burning pills so you can “eat what you want!” or hosting “wrap parties” and persuading social media connections to magically melt away inches, please, PLEASE consider the influence you may be having.
- Please consider the vast number of girls and women fighting or recovering from all types of debilitating disordered eating who are very likely some of your FB friends, blog followers, Instagram or Twitter followers in the long list you invited to check out your slimming products.
- Please consider the girls and women genuinely looking to improve their health (not just the appearance of “health” for 72 hours) and instead spending hard-earned money on products you push that will not decrease their likelihood of getting diabetes, heart disease, or any other chronic disease related to lifestyle.
- Please consider the girls and women who have been raised to believe their worth lies in the appearance of their body — especially in the thinness, firmness and dimple-free-ness of their bodies — and that many of those women’s bodies look just like the undesirable “before” photos you’re promoting all over their feeds.
- Please consider the objectification of women that you are selling to your audiences, whether they ask for it or not. Pictures of women in underwear without heads or faces reinforces the false ideal that women are bodies to be looked at, fixed, and judged at all times.
- Please consider the shame you may be inciting in girls and women (and men) who are being told from every angle that their bodies are flawed and in need of fixing in order to be happy, loved, and successful. Shame is a dangerous motivator to buy “quick fixes” and a terrible de-motivator away from healthy eating and physical activity.
To the girls and women being constantly exposed to these promotions and invited to these “parties,” please consider your influence as well:
- Please consider declining these invitations, not “liking” or commenting on these seemingly miraculous before/after photos featuring headless women’s body parts, and skipping these events.
- Please consider unfollowing or unsubscribing to people or pages, blocking ads from that company, and actually clicking “not attending” on these event invitations, rather than silently ignoring them.
- Please consider speaking up about why you will not be attending, why the false claims and objectifying language/images promote unhealthy body shame, and why no scientific or medically sound evidence has ever been shown to back up those health, weight-loss, lasting, skin-tightening, cellulite-reducing claims.
- Please consider your children, family members, students, neighbors, peers and others who look up to you and may be watching, many of whom are in need of a positive example of body confidence and positive health choices that include proper nutrition and physical activity, rather than expensive reliance on new tricks for looking hot and sexy.
- Please help remind every girl and woman you know – regardless of whether or not they buy or sell “skinny wraps” – that they are capable of much more than being looked at, and that when they really believe that, they can get on to everything else that is happy and important in their lives.
We’ve got a new challenge for you instead. It won’t cost you a dime, it won’t prey on your insecurities, and the happy, healthy benefits will last more than 72 hours! Pick just one of these challenges to get you back in the mindset of health, power, and happiness and change your whole outlook on life. There’s a good chance it’ll remind you that your body is a gift that can do great things outside of just being looked at, judged, and fixed. Which will you choose?
Set a true fitness goal: If you’ve held yourself back from running, biking, swimming, etc., because you felt self-conscious about what to wear, how red your face gets from the workout, sweating in public, (the list goes on), it’s time to set a goal and fight to achieve it! Make this goal about your abilities and you’ll be much less inclined to care about what you look like doing it. Run a certain distance without stopping. Swim 10 laps faster than ever before. Do a certain number of crunches, push-ups, pull-ups, new dance moves – any fitness achievement measured in actions and not numbers on a scale, measuring tape or clothing tag. Research shows many women are do not exercise because they “feel too fat” to get out and move. Let’s break through that shame and move, live, and be happy.
Forget your number: If you tend to fixate on your weight, measurements or clothing sizes, pledging to leave those numbers behind is your key to freedom! Make a goal to stop or limit the number of times you weigh or measure yourself. It turns out that when we fixate on arbitrary numbers, that often gets in the way of our health. Start judging your health through your activity level by setting a fitness goal (see No. 1) instead of a meaningless number, and you’ll get somewhere great!
Stop negative self-talk: Too many girls and women have a constant script of mean thoughts about themselves running through their minds. Recent studies show us that girls who don’t like their bodies become more sedentary over time and pay less attention to having a healthy diet. If you think you’re gross and worthless, why would you take care of yourself? Set a goal to stop saying negative things about yourself. Start with a day, a week, whatever you can, and make it a permanent practice!
Think nice thoughts instead: On the flipside of the last study, research has found that girls who respect their bodies are more likely to be physically active and eat healthy. They are less likely to gain unnecessary weight and they make healthy lifestyle choices way into the future. Since what we THINK about our bodies has a strong connection to how we TREAT our bodies, set a goal to shut out negative thoughts as they come and replace them with positive truths!
Go on a media fast: Choose a day, a week, a month or longer to steer clear of as much media as you can, including social media like Facebook and Instagram, which have been shown to reduce self-esteem in women. That way, you can see how your life is different without all those messages and images, and when you return to viewing and reading popular media, you will be more sensitive to the messages that hurt you and those that are unrealistic.
Need more help developing body image resilience that can help you overcome your self-consciousness and be more powerful than ever before? Learn how to recognize harmful ideals, redefine beauty and health, and resist what holds you back from happiness, health, and real empowerment with the Beauty Redefined Body Image Program for girls and women 14+. It is an online, anonymous therapeutic tool that can change your life, designed by Lexie & Lindsay Kite, with PhDs in body image and media.