Media Literacy vs. Thin is In
I recently blogged about Ralph Lauren and the fashion industry’s constant stream of messages and images which negatively affect women’s self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. And unfortunately, the glorification of a thin body is so pervasive in our society; it’s becoming more and more difficult to question its validity. I’m currently in the middle of reading one of the most fascinating and thoughtful books on the topic “The Religion of Thinness” by Michelle Lelwica. I hope to write a brief book review when I finish it, as I feel like it’s a book every woman ought to read, regardless of her weight, feelings about her body, or her relationship with food.
But at the end of the second chapter, Lelwica cites three awesome organizations whose mission is to promote positive media messages. Check them out.
**Mind on the Media: a national organization dedicated to “inspiring independent thinking and fostering critical analysis of media messages.” Through their “Turn Beauty Inside Out” program, they empower boys and girls to begin grassroots discussion, and sponsor events in their communities to increase awareness of the media’s influence on girls’ development.
**Girls, Women + Media Project: sponsors “I-CAN” (Involved Consumers Action Network) which offers information about consumer issues related to women and girls, and suggestions on how to take action.
**New Moon Girls: is an online community and print magazine targeted to girls ages 8-14 and designed to build positive body image and self-esteem through chatting, poetry, artwork, videos, and more. It is a phenomenal resource amidst the barrage of negative messages targeted to this vulnerable age group. Rather than telling our young women they need change, re-shape, and mold their body to some phony standard, they need to hear that they are intelligent, capable, and acceptable just as they are.
I’m currently working part-time as a dietitian/nutritionist in Somerville at a day treatment program for eating disorders called Laurel Hill Inn. As I grapple with the complex reasons that so many women (and increasingly more men) suffer from disordered eating and severe body image disturbance, I can appreciate the fact that the media is one very powerful aspect of this multi-factorial problem. I try to advocate for and promote any organization which strives counter the negative messages which permeate our society. If you know of any other positive resources or websites, please post them!