Women’s News: Why ‘Love Your Body’ Campaigns Aren’t Working

Women’s News: Why ‘Love Your Body’ Campaigns Aren’t Working

Women News: Happy Armpits4August! Here’s Why These Women Aren’t Shaving For A Month

Women News: Happy Armpits4August! Here’s Why These Women Aren’t Shaving For A Month

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s News: Why ‘Love Your Body’ Campaigns Aren’t Working


Isabel Foxen Duke

Certified health coach and emotional eating expert.

Like an unfortunately large percentage of women in the U.S., I grew up criticizing my body and dieting regularly from a young age. I spent years of my life terrified I would never get “there,” the place where my weight and all perceived rewards of thinness would finally fall into place. Getting thin was the only answer I could think of to most of my problems, and conversely, “being fat” or gaining weight, meant “losing–” it meant never achieving, never being loved, never “having it all.”

I remember seeing body-positive campaigns like Dove’s Real Beauty or Victoria Secret’s Love Your Body — campaigns that encourage women to “love the skin they’re in” — and thinking “that’s nice, but I still wish I was thinner.”

I would see images of “real women” and think to myself, I don’t want to be one. I wanted to get ahead, stand out, be special, and I didn’t see how accepting my body the way it was would get me “there” — the place where my life would begin. I believed my dreams were 20 lbs. away from me, and what seemed like a forced, new ideal of beauty on a billboard didn’t seem to change that.

Eventually my relationship with my body did start to change… when I finally realized I can get the guy, the job, the cute clothes in the window right now, regardless of my weight. Women with “non-traditional body types” are not disabled from creating what they want in the world, we’re just taught that they are.

I learned by working with countless women around body image that helping women “unlearn” the rewards and punishments they experienced around weight as children or were made to fear by the mainstream media (which, by the way, doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon) is more powerful than simply telling someone “your body is beautiful the way it is.” While changing the figures and images in the media is an important and wonderful first step (particularly for building new beliefs in younger generations), it may fall on deaf ears amongst those who have already been brainwashed that “thin” is where life happens.

One could argue that’s why Lena Dunham is so successful — she’s not just saying “beauty at any size;” she’s saying “you can have it all at any size.” After all, our insecurity is not just about our bodies at its core — it’s about creating and feeling deserving of the life we want to live.

If we don’t actively dismantle the myths that have been embedded into women’s psyche around weight historically, those myths will linger, regardless of how many plus-sized models they see on billboards (again, important first step, but not necessarily the “answer” for women suffering from body hatred now).

In reality, women want to experience, they want to feel, they want to be… far more than they want to look. Unfortunately, we’ve been taught that looking a certain way is a prerequisite for “achieving” throughout the rest of our lives. If body-positive messages were effectively combating that myth, women’s beliefs systems about weight would be shaken at its roots, rather than its petals.

In other words, instead of simply shifting the global paradigm of beauty, we need to start exploring why those paradigms are meaningful to begin with, and challenge the validity of those beliefs.

What are YOU making “fat” mean?

Are you making fat mean that you’ll never find a suitable partner?

That you’re unworthy of the respect of your peers?

That you’ll never “make it” professionally?

That no one will take you seriously?


If we don’t address those underlying fears, few women will gain the confidence needed to say “F YOU” to a body paradigm that doesn’t serve them. Women need to believe that their body shape does not dictate their success in relationships, their success in the workplace, their social mobility, etc.

When our belief systems around weight change — that is, when we challenge the “meaning” we give to weight or body shape — our bodies naturally become our allies in achievement, rather than an obstacle to overcome.

For more information on overcoming negative body image or emotional behaviors around food, visit www.isabelfoxenduke.com and download “How To Not Eat Chocolate Cake… Really Fast, Standing Up, When Nobody’s Looking.”

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/isabel-foxen-duke/why-love-your-body-campaigns-arent-working_b_3605184.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women News: Happy Armpits4August! Here’s Why These Women Aren’t Shaving For A Month


The Huffington Post  |  By 

A women’s version of No-Shave November has arrived: Armpits4August.

Participants in the month-long project starting August 1st are asked to grow their underarm hair — or any other body hair — for the whole month. Some of the project’s organizers suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of infertility among women,whose symptoms include acne, bloating and hirsutism. Other founders don’t have PCOS but are interested in unpacking the female beauty standards that require shaving, waxing and plucking body hair.

“I’m medically classed as a hirsute woman,” founder Sarah Hickmott told the Guardian. “I used to absolutely hate my body hair because of bullying. I feel better about it since meeting other feminists.”

Those taking part in the month-long grow-out hope to raise money for Verity, a Polycystic Ovary Syndrome charity, by asking friends and family to sponsor them. Last year, the British-based movement raised £4,000.

“The idea is to set a challenge,” organizer Chloe Marshall told the Independent. “Until you question these things you don’t know what you feel comfortable with, rather than just automatically doing the thing most expected of women.”

In a blog for The Huffington Post UK, Hickmott wrote: “Over time we are aiming to have pride in our body hair rather than shame, and to challenge the idea that post-pubescent women with body hair — no matter how much — are disgusting, unhygienic or ‘unnatural’.”

Hickmott was also careful to emphasize that Armpits4August makes no judgements about women who do decide to remove their body hair, writing: “It is emphatically not about saying that only what is ‘natural’ is acceptable or beautiful, but that women should be free to make these choices, consciously and actively, and without the fear of provoking disgust, hatred or being shamed.”

British woman Siobhain Fletcher, who suffers from PCOS, made headlines last year when she allowed her facial hair to grow out in support of male prostate and testicular cancer for Movember.

“My condition used to contribute to depression and anxiety but this is for a good cause and I want to highlight that people shouldn’t judge you on what you have on your face, it’s what is inside that matters,” Fletcher told the Mirror.

Another brave woman bucking expectations about body hair is college studentBalpreet Kaur, who was mocked on Reddit for sporting facial hair. Kaur, who does not remove her body hair in accordance with her Sikh faith, responded with incredible grace to her Reddit tormentors.

“When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away,” she wrote. “However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can.”

Here’s hoping that the Armpits4August women succeed in raising awareness and money for their cause — and here’s to celebrating women like Fletcher and Kaur, for withstanding criticism and standing up for themselves with dignity.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/armpits4august-pcos-awareness_n_3617820.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

A Message From The Creator


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