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The Body Love Conference
Rachel Goldinon 8 April 2014
Transcript of The Body Love Conference
On April 5th, 2014, the inaugural BLC '14 brought hundreds of women to the University of Arizona to celebrate each other, and work together to help women of all shapes, sizes, and colors realize their own value, worth, and beauty.
The conference was the brainchild of Jes Baker, a
native Tucsonan whose work can be read at
Baker writes: "The only thing you [Abercrombie & Fitch has] done through [their] comments is reinforce the unoriginal concept that fat women are social failures, valueless, and undesirable. Your apology doesn't change this."
She include[d] in her open letter a series of professional photographs taken with a conventionally-attractive model.
The company also offered a public apology on Wednesday, after teenager and eating disorder survivor Benjamin O'Keefe garnered 68,000 signatures on Change.org demanding a new business approach and to stop shaming overweight teenagers.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/plus-size-blogger-creates-fake-abercrombie-campaign-article-1.1351705#ixzz2yDgfHxCB
Redefining the Thin White Ideal:
We see hundreds of advertisements a day, and
the ideal of beauty we see in these ads is geared towards one specific type, which Pia Schiavo-Campo referred to as "the thin white ideal."
There is rarely a depiction of old women, disabled women, or women who fall outside the parameters of body shape that Hollywood and advertisers have set as the "standard" of beauty all women want.
The purpose of these homogenized images is to sell stuff to women, regardless of the emotional and psychological consequences of their strategy.
As an antidote, we can push back against this barrage of imagery, which can make anyone feel that they are "not good enough" in a multitude of ways:
1. Stop reading mainstream magazines! They just want to sell to you.
2. Diversify your social group by talking to diverse kinds of people. Meeting new folks is a worthwhile adventure that opens your mind!
3. Compliment random women on choices they have made. "What fabulous shoes!" "That's such a great color!" "Where did you get that purse?"
You might just make someone's day- and that person may need kindness in ways you'll never know.
4. Stop the "mean girl" talk. Life is hard enough for women and girls without making it harder for ourselves.
"Raising Body Positive Kids: How to Raise Kids to Be OK in a Society that Isn't"
- Dr. Jessica Dorland
While receiving a degree in physiology, Jessica decided to focus on how the human body handles stress. Her senior capstone mapped theoretical pathways for the brain’s interpretation of stress as actual physical symptoms.
So why? Why am I so hard on myself? Luckily all the time I spent in school taught me something about belief structures and how messages we hear growing up incorporate themselves into our psyche. So when my mom put me on the Cambridge Diet (I’m only 36, and since it was pulled from the market and reformulated after potential health issues arose in 1986, that means I wasn’t nine years old and was on a diet that restricted my caloric intake to 440cal/day) it permanently imprinted in my brain that my weight was a problem. When my babysitter compared her weight to mine when I was ten and looked at me in disgust, I knew I was disgusting. When every famous or cool woman I idolized as a kid was a size two and so very overly sexualized by the media, I learned that sex meant acceptance. When my grandma made fun of her arm fat, then compared it to mine… well you get the picture.
So I’m stuck with this internal bully. Great. I’m stuck with this belief that I’m not smart, or beautiful, or a leader. But then I had kids. Two beautiful girls. Two wonderful, sweet, empathetic kids who shouldn’t believe those same things about themselves. So I started working on ways to make sure I am a good parent. I, of course, quickly realized that there’s no way I can avoid every turn that might lead to their eventual lack of self-esteem. My mom tried to protect me from bullies (because she believed that if I was thin I wouldn’t be bullied), and her mom her, resulting in every gimmick diet you can think of being tried by my family (my mom couldn’t name one thing she liked about her body till very recently, but remembers taking speed shots with her mom when she was a teenager). There’s just no way to predict and avoid every wrong-turn… I think it’s just destiny for every daughter to look at her mom and think of at least a dozen ways she screwed up. That’s life. That’s normal. I’m okay with that.
Dr. Dorlan's story was powerful and moving; what was equally powerful were the members of the audience that spoke up as well.
What is the "inner voice" that we allow to bully ourselves into thinking we're
not pretty enough
the wrong color
the wrong shape?
Our beliefs about what others think is what induces stress and/or anxiety into a situation. We as adults create that inner voice for our children, just as our parents and teachers created it for us.
The Disney Channel:
innocent entertainment, or the reinforcement of a homogenized standard of beauty?
Each Princess in this graphic shares the same huge eyes, sharp cheekbones, and unrealistic waistline. The message is that THIS is what it takes to "catch a Prince."
This shirt is for sale in the toddler section.
What message does this send our little girls?
What is a parent to do? Even if we turn off the Disney Channel, our kids are still bombarded with hundreds of images a day.
Show your kids what you see! Conversations about what these images present to us, and the reasoning behind them, allow kids to recognize the bias- this allows them to enjoy what is good about the entertainment they choose.
The keynote speaker:
Tess Munster, plus-size model and mother
Tess shared her story with the hundreds of women at the conference, and not only had I never seen a keynote speaker pause to collect herself from crying during a speech, I had never seen so much support and love pour out from an audience!
Staples and Stitches:
Discovering Fashion and Personal Style for All Body Types with Liz Denneau
Meet CandyStrike’s Founder, Elizabeth Denneau!
Elizabeth’s quirky personality and fashion sense is the inspiration behind CandyStrike’s innovative and exceptional dresses, skirts, shirts, swimsuits, and accessories. Elizabeth spent over a decade designing unique clothing for women of all shapes and sizes. Being plus size herself, Elizabeth recognized the frustration that many women have felt trying to find something original and daring in department stores and started CandyStrike to fill that fashion gap in 2011. She will be expanding her sizes this winter (2013) to include "straight" sizes (2-10) and a size 4xl (26|28), because she felt passionately that the dividing line between sizing was damaging to women.
Elizabeth uses techniques such as screen printing to create interesting textiles. She also creates interesting and elaborate one of a kind pieces using vintage garments. All of CandyStrike's garments are handmade in Tucson, AZ at the CandyStrike Atelier, where Elizabeth creates her statement pieces with her small team.
This incredibly fun session with this amazing local
fashion diva gave attendees an opportunity to ask questions about personal style, what should or shouldn't heavier girls wear (answer: whatever they want- stripes, tight things, whatever- the only one you have to please is the one you see in the mirror!) and "work-arounds" for fashion problems of the heavier woman. A confidence-building workshop!
Images of actresses of color are often photoshopped to conform more closely to an "ideal"image of beauty
What Hollywood and advertisers see as "diversity" is anything but:
of ULTIMATE SELF CONFIDENCE
The World Famous *BOB*, known for her over the top blonde bombshell image and incredible ability to mix martinis in her cleavage, has captivated audiences all over the world with her unique burlesque stylings, humorous performance art, and MC skills. She has been photographed by hundreds of photographers including Patrick McMullan, Mario Testino, and David LaChapelle.
World Famous *BOB* has brought crowds together by pointing out what we all have in common- the need for love and creating that with her art in the moment. *BOB* continues her life in the spotlight and is also an Ultimate Self Confidence!
This speaker, one of the most dynamic of the day, walked participants though a series of visualizations, and activities designed to articulate hopes and dreams, and identify both positive and negative thought-habits.
Of course, one of the biggest regrets we had
was the lack of time- her presentation was a distillation of what is normally a two-hour class.
The strategies "Bob" presented, and walked us though, were effective and affirming; I only wish I could go to Brooklyn and catch the full workshop.
To finish, this was a game-changer of a day, both in how I see other humans and in how we can help the younger ones. I see great opportunities for school staff to learn and grow, and make our schools a safer, more compassionate place to be.