Sunday, October 17, 2010

Love Your Body Day is 10/20/10: How Are You Going to Celebrate?

I know, my last post was about Adoption Awareness Month. And I promise, not every post from now on is going to be about a particular month or day. But I couldn't let Love Your Body Day go without notice. It was launched by the National Organization for Women in 1997. And I would love to tell you that things have changed since then. That women of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and ages now grace the covers of our magazines and find roles in theater and film. That breast implants and labiaplasties were no longer being done. That eating disorders were a thing of the past. That dark women were no longer using dangerous chemicals to lighten their skin. That women with "bad" hair were not straightening it. That baby girls born with big clitorises were not having them surgically "corrected." That women were not shaving, waxing, and otherwise depilating their vulvas so that they more resemble prepubescent girls than adult women. That advertising did not use women's bodies to sell anything and everything, often in demeaning and objectifying ways. That younger and younger girls were not being sexualized in the entertainment and fashion industries. And that media was not constantly presenting completely fake and unattainable images of thinness and beauty with a zeal reminiscent of China's (past) fondness for tiny feet.

Well, maybe next year. In the meantime, are you going to celebrate on Wednesday? How? Here are some ideas to get you started:

-NOW's Love Your Body Day website has some info and ideas, including ways to use social media to spread the word. There is a downloadable slide show there which is perfect for teens. And there's a wonderful selection of posters which you can send as e-cards.

-Have you seen the section of my website entitled "Loving Your Body?" Now might be a good time to check it out!

-Watch a movie, preferably with a friend or two. Here are some good ones:
America The Beautiful 
Beauty Mark
Naked on the Inside

-Practice social media activism. Some sex educators in New Mexico made a good video called "You Don't Need Labiaplasty.*" They posted it to their webpage on Facebook. The video contains photos of actual women's vulvas (courtesy of Betty Dodson), to illustrate the beautiful, natural variety of women's genitalia. Facebook decided that it wasn't appropriate, and took their page down. Go ahead - try to post the video to your FB page. Or create a new profile, and post it there, if you don't want to risk your own page. Or link to it. Or link to the article about the censorship of this page. Or create a group on Facebook called,  I don't know, how about "Normal healthy genitalia is not porn"or "The real outrage is labiaplasty." Make some noise!

-Send a kid a positive message. I don't envy parents these days, who have to combat a non-stop barrage of twisted media messaging. Here's a great blog post about the difficulty of that conversation, and the importance of having it, again and again.

-Turn someone on to Fertility Awareness. One place to start might be a radio interview I did with Barbara Glickstein a week before Love Your Body Day back in 2008, on Healthstyles (WBAI). This is an hour long interview/discussion that would be a good intro for anyone not familiar with Fertility Awareness. And at the top of the show is a list of 10 ways to celebrate Love Your Body Day.

Now make your own list. And please share it here. I'd love to hear your ideas for how we can love our own bodies, teach our children to love theirs, and fight the incessant stream of hatred & lies that comes from the media.

*I love everything about this video except that all the vulvas shown are in some way denuded of hair, either entirely or partially. Kind of undercuts the message, don'tcha think?

A Dove ad that I love
2008 Love Your Body Poster by Shanti Rittgers

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