New Website: BeautyRedefined.net

Due to increased traffic, our site needed a makeover — and we got one! That means this site will be shutting down and redirecting to our new one:

BEAUTYREDEFINED.NET

Please head over there to see our new look and new methods for joining the fight to take back beauty for girls and women everywhere! 

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How Girls and Women Can Take Back Beauty

This is the old version of our site. View the updated version of this page at our new site: beautyredefined.net 

Below are several strategies girls and women can use to recognize and reject harmful messages about female bodies and then redefine “beauty” for themselves in much more worthwhile ways!

Stop Negative Self-Talk: Too many girls and women have a constant script of mean thoughts about themselves running through their minds. That kind of negativity is not motivational or inspirational. In fact, it tends to show up on the outside. 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. And that makes sense. If you think you’re gross and worthless, why would you take care of yourself?

Think Nice Thoughts Instead: On the flipside of the last study, research has found that girls who feel good about themselves, regardless of their weight, 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. Remember that what we THINK about our bodies has a strong connection to how we TREAT our bodies.

Unreal Ideals: Remember it is reasonable to assume no image we ever see of a woman in media has gone un-manipulated. As early as 1991, a media industry insider referred to the digital alteration of women as a “retouching epidemic.” And today magazine editors refer to airbrushing as an industry standard. Plus, vertical film stretching to make women appear taller and thinner is a common technique, as are filtered lenses on cameras and soft lighting, which do away with wrinkles, pores, and other so-called “blemishes.” The next time you start comparing yourself to a woman in a magazine, remember that even she doesn’t fit the ideal she’s made to represent!

Go on a Media Fast: Choose a day, a week, a month, or longer to steer clear of as much media as you can. 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. One group of male college students in Utah went on a “media fast” for three months, and at the end of that time, the men claimed they found the real women in their lives more attractive while they were on the fast, and continued to find them more beautiful once the fast was over because they realized what real women look like when they weren’t bombarded with idealized images of women in media.

Fight for Fitness: You can choose anything you want to work toward, whether that is running a mile in a set time, doing a certain number of push-ups or sit-ups, etc. When you set a fitness goal and work toward it, you will find you spend less time thinking about the way your body LOOKS and more time focusing on what it can DO. Reminding ourselves and encouraging others to engage in physical activity as a means for improving physical and mental health, rather than a strategy for achieving unattainable beauty ideals, is vital.

The Power of Kindness: Choose to compliment the girls and women in your life for character traits, actions or talents you admire about them. The compliments that stick with you for a lifetime are those that acknowledge your valuable qualities, like a good attitude, selflessness, talents, honesty and so much more that has nothing to do with a cute outfit or pretty hair.

RUN from Normalized Pornography: Depicting sexual images and dialogue is now a normal part of media all hours of the day, and it is presented as “safe” in advertisements, catalogs, TV shows, movies, men’s and women’s magazines, books, video games, websites, billboards, etc. Research is very clear that pornography changes the way men and women view each other, it gets in the way of us forming loving and healthy relationships, it skews our perceptions of attractiveness, our sense of self-worth, and our sense of others’ worth. Do not just walk away – RUN from it!

Object to Objectification: Girls and women exposed to sexually objectifying messages (which are inescapable in today’s media landscape), prove to experience body hatred, learn to primarily view and value themselves for their outward appearance and actually endorsed objectifying images in the future. And a particularly scary fact is that research proves these harmful messages leave females preoccupied with their physical appearance, which then hurts their performance in school (including mathematics, logical reasoning, spatial skills) and athletic activities. Yikes.

Be an Advocate: If our suggestion to turn away from media that degrades or otherwise hurts you is just not enough for you, consider your fierce influence as an advocate for women. When you come across a company’s advertising that fuels female insecurity or a magazine that objectifies women even as it claims to empower them, speak up! Blogging your disapproval is a great start, and so is posting links to news stories that reveal harmful ideals on social networking sites. If you’d like to go a step further, write to and/or call your local cable company, network TV station, newspaper and any other media outlet perpetuating harmful messages. Get the word out that the media message you have seen is inappropriate and dangerous and threaten to boycott if it is not removed. If your complaints are not heard, do NOT patronize those institutions and suggest the same to your loved ones.

Redefining Healthy: Getting back to reality involves figuring out what “health” really means – and it’s not what media shows us. For-profit media like fitness magazines or TV shows would have us believe health and fitness are all about what we look like, and any doctor can tell us that simply isn’t true. Talk to a doctor, nutritionist or other health specialist to figure out what healthy really means for you individually. Work with them to set healthy goals for yourself that aren’t based off profit-driven beauty ideals.

Forget Yourself: Sometimes the best way to improve our self-esteem is to forget about ourselves for a while. Get out and volunteer to help someone who needs a friend or who needs a hand with jobs around the house. Service fills us with love and light that radiate from within.

Get back to Reality: Since we’ll see more images of women in one week of media viewing than we’ll probably ever see face to face, it’s important to give ourselves a reality check! When we look eye to eye with the women we know and love, we can remind ourselves what real women and real beauty look like. This real definition of beauty is so much more than just looks! It is your best friend’s basketball skills, your sister’s hard work on her English paper, the lines on your mom’s face from years of beautiful smiles and laughter, etc. For a start, check out our project “Facts and Figures: 10 Girls Tell the Truth About Weight.”

Tell the Truth: Point out the difference between media representations of women’s bodies and real-life women’s bodies while watching TV or flipping through a magazine with friends or family. Saying these things aloud will help you train your mind and the minds of those you love to recognize what is real and what is far from the truth. Remember, honesty is always the best policy!

Take Media Into Your Own Hands: Post links or start discussions on blogs and social networking sites to continuously spark conversation about dangerous ideals (like the thin ideal, surgical enhancement, white ideals, etc.) and to bring to light those who profit from our belief in those ideals. And when thinking about your future college studies and/or career, consider going into journalism, advertising, or media production so YOU can produce messages that uplift rather than tear down.

Be Critical of Media, Not Yourself or Others: While the U.S. is the No. 1 producer and exporter of media, we are also the only industrialized country in the world without some form of media literacy in public school curriculum. We need to feel an obligation to put media under closer inspection for the influence it has in our lives. Next time you are flipping through a magazine or watching a movie, train yourself to ask important questions about what you see. If you don’t like the answers you find, remember you can turn away from the messages that hurt you and those you love!

  • Do you feel better or worse about yourself when viewing or hearing this media? Do you believe the females in your life would feel better or worse about themselves after viewing or hearing this media?
  • Who is advertising in these pages or on this screen? (Look for ads and commercials and you’ll see who is paying the bills for your favorite media messages)
  • Who owns the TV show, movie, magazine, video game or website you are viewing? (Research the company and its owners and you’ll find out who the powerful decision makers are behind the scenes of your media of choice)
  • Is the media you read and view promoting real health or impossible ideals meant to make you spend money and time? Who are those messages promoting impossible ideals usually speaking to?
  • How are women and girls presented here? Are they valued for their talents and personality? Do they look like the females in your life?

Refiguring Health: If you are a health practitioner, doctor, educator or medical student, a lofty but necessary goal can be developing and helping to implement accurate and reliable measures of healthy weight, whether that means developing new algorithms that can better predict individual body fat or steering clear of the inaccurate Body Mass Index in favor of other financially feasible measures like waist circumference measurement or skinfold thickness tests.

The Power of Media Makers: Media decision-makers like editors, producers, writers, directors and web developers can and should disrupt the steady stream of idealized bodies with positive representations of more normative shapes and sizes, with positive dialogue or editorials regarding those images that does not focus solely on appearance.

Health Activism in Play: Anyone willing and able can work to visibly resist messages that repackage women’s health in power-laden “beauty” terms in any way possible, whether through volunteering to speak out against harmful ideals for any audience who will listen, attracting media attention toward dangerous messages like advertisements or TV shows that may perpetuate harmful messags about bodies, or speaking to local leaders and politicians about inappropriate or dangerous messages in media programming and local advertising.

Check Your Vision: Be conscious of the vast amount of media we consume each day, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. In fact, the average American spends about 4.5 hours every day watching TV or movies and another 3.5 hours on the Internet, on top of being exposed to about 3,600 advertisements from every angle. As you go through your day, pay attention to what you see and what messages go against what you know be true about yourself and others you love.

Be a Positive Example: Research and real-life experience make it clear that when women and girls speak negatively about their bodies and their appearance, they negatively impact those around them. That goes for women talking about themselves in hateful ways in front of their children and family members, girls that degrade themselves in front of their friends, or any other time a woman or girl says awful things about herself in front of anyone near. Start today with a goal that you will never again say something negative about your appearance aloud, and soon the negative self-talk that floats through your mind will become less and less prevalent, too.



How Boys and Men Can Help Take Back Beauty

This is the old version of our site. Please view the updated version of this page at our new site: beautyredefined.net 

Below are some practical tips that boys and men can use in the battle to take back beauty. This important cause can be greatly benefited by the support of males who care!

RUN from Normalized Pornography: Depicting sexual images and dialogue is now a normal part of media all hours of the day, and it is presented as “safe” in advertisements, catalogs, TV shows, movies, men’s and women’s magazines, books, video games, websites, billboards, etc. Research is very clear that pornography changes the way men and women view each other, it gets in the way of us forming loving and healthy relationships with family and friends, it skews our perceptions of female bodies, our sense of self-worth, and our sense of women’s worth.  Do not just walk away – RUN from it!

Check Your Vision: Be conscious of the vast amount of media we consume each day, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. In fact, the average American spends about 4.5 hours every day watching TV or movies and another 3.5 hours on the Internet, on top of being exposed to about 3,600 advertisements from every angle. As you go through your day, pay attention to what you see and what messages go against what you know be true about yourself and others you love.

Remember Some Jokes Aren’t Funny: Decide now that you will not make jokes about the appearance of a girl or woman in your life. Even if you are trying to be funny, it won’t turn out that way. Joking about weight, height, or appearance in any way can stick with girls for an entire lifetime, since so many sources have taught them to believe their value is dependent upon their attractiveness.

Be a Positive Example: Be especially cautious when making comments about girls’ and womens’ appearance, even if they are celebrities in magazines or on the big screen. Even if you say something you think is positive about a woman, like “She is so hot!” it is likely that the girls and women in your life will automatically make judgments against themselves based on what you said. Even if they don’t tell you, most girls and women care very much about the way the men in their lives treat, view and speak about other women. Your example can have a profound effect for good or bad.

Unreal Ideals: Remember it is reasonable to assume no image we ever see of a woman in media has gone un-manipulated. As early as 1991, a media industry insider referred to the digital alteration of women as a “retouching epidemic.” And today magazine editors refer to airbrushing as an industry standard. Plus, vertical film stretching to make women appear taller and thinner is a common technique, as are filtered lenses on video cameras and soft lighting, which do away with wrinkles, pores, and other so-called “blemishes” for women on TV and in movies. The next time you start comparing the females in your life to those you see in media, remember that even the beauty ideals don’t fit the ideal they are supposed to represent!

Go on a Media Fast: Choose a day, a week, a month, or longer to steer clear of as much media as you can. 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 you love and those that are unrealistic. One group of male college students in Utah went on a “media fast” for three months, and at the end of that time, the men claimed they found the real women in their lives more beautiful while they were on the fast, and continued to find them more beautiful once the fast was over because they realized what real women look like when they weren’t bombarded with idealized and unreal images of women in media.

Turn Away From Harmful Images: The girls and women you know and love are hopefully trying hard to remember that the women they see in media are digitally manipulated to appear “perfect,” even though they don’t really look that way. When you put those types of pictures in your locker or subscribe to magazines that depict women in unrealistic and degrading ways, the females in your life may then believe those are the types of women you value most. Turning away from media images that hurt women (and men) is a perfect way to help the females in your life understand what you really value in women – real women you see face to face.

Object to Objectification: Pay attention to media that is objectifying to women, which means it shows women and girls as just PARTS of themselves. That happens when the camera pans up and down their bodies, or zooms in on certain body parts. This also takes place when magazines or movies and TV talk about women’s bodies in ways that degrade them and turn them into just body parts instead of thinking, feeling humans. Boys and men exposed to sexually objectifying messages (which are inescapable in today’s media landscape), learn to primarily view and value females for their outward appearance and actually endorse objectifying images in the future. Yikes! Turn away from objectifying media – it is harmful for you and for the females you love.

Show Them What You Value: Most girls and women claim they’re trying to achieve these beauty ideals in an attempt to become more desirable and attractive. If the things they are trying so hard to obtain are not actually all you value in a woman, be sure to make that known by speaking about women in positive ways and referencing their characters, personalities and talents as things you admire and seek in girls and women you want in your life. Choose to compliment the girls and women in your life for those things, too. The compliments that stick with you for a lifetime are those that acknowledge your valuable qualities, like a good attitude, selflessness, talents, and honesty.

Be Critical of Media, Not Yourself or Women: While the U.S. is the No. 1 producer and exporter of media, we are also the only industrialized country in the world without some form of media literacy in public school curriculum. We need to feel an obligation to put media under closer inspection for the influence it has in our lives. Next time you are flipping through a magazine or watching a movie, train yourself to ask important questions about what you see. If you don’t like the answers you find, remember you can turn away from the messages that hurt you and those you love!

  • Do you feel better or worse about yourself when viewing or hearing this media? Do you believe the females in your life would feel better or worse about themselves after viewing or hearing this media?
  • Who is advertising in these pages or on this screen? (Look for ads and commercials and you’ll see who is paying the bills for your favorite media messages)
  • Who owns the TV show, movie, magazine, video game or website you are viewing? (Research the company and its owners and you’ll find out who the powerful decision makers are behind the scenes of your media of choice)
  • Is the media you read and view promoting real health or impossible ideals meant to make you spend money and time? Who are those messages promoting impossible ideals usually speaking to?
  • How are women and girls presented here? Are they valued for their talents and personality? Do they look like the females in your life?

Get Back to Reality: Since we’ll see more images of women in one week of media viewing than we’ll probably ever see face to face, it’s important to give ourselves a reality check! When we look eye to eye with the women we know and love, we can remind ourselves what real women and real beauty look like. This real definition of beauty is so much more than just looks! It is your best girl friend’s basketball skills, your sister’s hard work on her English paper, the lines on your mom’s face from years of beautiful smiles and laughter, and so much  more.

Tell the Truth: Point out the difference between media representations of women’s bodies and real-life women’s bodies while watching TV or flipping through a magazine with friends or family. Saying these things aloud will help you train your mind and the minds of those you love to recognize what is real and what is far from the truth. Remember, honesty is always the best policy!

Take Media Into Your Own Hands: Post links or start discussions on blogs and social networking sites to continuously spark conversation about dangerous ideals (like the thin ideal, surgical enhancement, white ideals, etc.) and to bring to light those who profit from our belief in those ideals. And when thinking about your future college studies and/or present career, consider going into journalism, advertising or media production so YOU can produce messages that uplift rather than degrade.

Be an Advocate: If our suggestion to turn away from media that degrades or otherwise women is just not enough for you, consider your fierce influence as an advocate for truth and uplifting messages. When you come across a company’s advertising that fuels female insecurity or a magazine that objectifies women even as it claims to empower them, speak up! Blogging your disapproval is a great start, and so is posting links to news stories that reveal harmful ideals on social networking sites. If you’d like to go a step further, write to and/or call your local cable company, TV station, newspaper and any other media outlet perpetuating harmful messages. Get the word out that the media message you have seen is inappropriate and dangerous and threaten to boycott if it is not removed. If your complaints are not heard, do NOT patronize those institutions and suggest the same to your loved ones.

Redefining Healthy: Getting back to reality involves figuring out what “health” really means – and it’s not what media shows us. For-profit media like women’s fitness magazines or TV shows would have us believe health and fitness are all about what women look like, and any doctor can tell us that simply isn’t true. If you know a girl or woman who believes her health and fitness depend on what she looks like, encourage her to talk to a doctor, nutritionist or other health specialist to figure out what healthy really means for her individually. She can then work with them to set healthy goals for herself that aren’t based off profit-driven beauty ideals.

Refiguring Health: If you are a health practitioner, doctor, or medical student, a lofty but necessary goal can be developing and helping to implement accurate and reliable measures of healthy weight, whether that means developing new algorithms that can better predict individual body fat or steering clear of the inaccurate Body Mass Index in favor of other financially feasible measures like waist circumference measurement or skinfold thickness tests.

The Power of Media Makers: Media decision-makers like editors, producers, writers, directors, and web developers can and should disrupt the steady stream of idealized bodies with positive representations of more normative shapes and sizes, with positive dialogue or editorials regarding those images that does not focus solely on appearance.

Health Activism in Play: Anyone willing and able can work to visibly resist messages that repackage women’s health in power-laden “beauty” terms in any way possible, whether through volunteering to speak out against harmful ideals for any audience who will listen, attracting media attention toward dangerous messages like advertisements or TV shows that lead to low self esteem, or speaking to local leaders and politicians about inappropriate or dangerous messages in media programming or local advertising.

Facts and Figures: 10 Girls Tell the Truth About Weight

This is the old version of our site. View this updated page at our new site: beautyredefined.net

Since we’ll see billions more images of women’s bodies in media than we ever will in real life, then it’s no surprise we all have a messed up idea of what normal weights, sizes and shapes really are. Hollywood isn’t showing or telling us anything close to reality. No wonder weight is the No. 1 thing women lie about – even on official documents. When every actress or model we see weighs no more than 115, and even when they don’t, they claim unnaturally small sizes in the press (Kim Kardashian a size 2? Unlikely), the fact that most women are “disgusted” with their bodies makes sense. Normal, naturally occurring weights sound shameful when only the lowest numbers and smallest sizes are shown or spoken about. When the multiple-time “sexiest woman alive” Angelina Jolie weighs 100 lbs. at 5’6″ and almost all Miss America contestants and men’s magazine centerfolds are categorized as underweight according to the World Health Organization, our ideas of what it means to be the weight and size of a normal, healthy woman are dangerously skewed toward extreme thinness.

The Beauty Redefined project is all about bringing us back to reality.  The reality that appearance shouldn’t determine worth, that our ideas of “healthy” have been distorted by profit-driven industries, and that becoming a sought-after sex object does not bring true empowerment. Now, we’re revealing reality by showing and telling some real facts and figures. Literally. 10 girls, 10 different figures and 10 honest facts about height, weight and size. If publishing these facts and figures seems like a surprisingly bold move, that’s because it is. The honesty of the following images and accompanying numbers is incredibly rare. These are unaltered, real bodies of real Beauty Redefined supporters, in regular lighting, with no stylists and no casting restrictions on any aspect of appearance, which is unheard of in media. Please help us reveal reality and normalize realistic shapes and sizes by spreading these refreshing facts and figures as far as possible!

Heather

Weight: 154.5     Height: 5′ 5″     Pant Size: 12

 

Michelle

Weight: 145     Height: 5’4″     Pant Size: 6


 

Sunny

Weight: 155     Height: 5′ 6.5″     Pant Size: 6-8

 

Molly

Weight: 120     Height: 5′ 8″     Pant Size: 2


 

Emily

Weight: 171     Height: 5′ 9″     Pant Size: 12-14

 

Brianne

Weight: 215     Height: 5′ 4″     Pant Size: 16


Chelsi

Weight: 125     Height: 5′ 3″     Pant Size: 4


 

Amber

Weight: 142     Height: 5′ 6″     Pant Size: 4-6


 

Di

Weight: 145     Height: 5′ 7″     Pant Size: 10-12



Hannah

Weight: 180    Height: 5’5″    Pant Size: 12


 

If you’ve been to one of our Beauty Redefined presentations in the past couple of years, you know we’re committed to helping women and girls reclaim their power by looking each other eye to eye. It’s not just about recognizing and rejecting harmful media messages, it’s about recognizing reality and using positive examples to help us redefine beauty and health for ourselves. Attainable, uplifting, realistic beauty and health that exists all around us, even if it doesn’t quite look like the images we’re force-fed from every other source. Since these are only 10 bodies, you might see that your own size or shape is not represented here – or anywhere else! If you’d like to fix that, please send us a full-body photo against a white or light-colored wall, along with your honest and accurate height, weight and pant size to beautyredefinedonline@gmail.com. Please help us reject distorted media ideals by spreading this link to anyone and everyone who could use a glimpse of reality!

Beauty Redefined on Display: Phase 1

Beauty Redefined Phase 1

This poster represents several aspects of the first focus of the Beauty Redefined program: Recognize Harmful Media Messages

1) Be conscious of the vast amount of media we consume each day, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.

2) Understand that today’s concept of “beauty” is much different than it was just 50 years ago – from Marilyn Monroe to Angelina Jolie.

3) Recognize the effects of seeing such unattainable standards of “beauty” and “health” throughout all media. A preoccupation with extreme thinness has taken over our perceptions of what is attractive and healthy.

4) Be aware of this “thin ideal” dominating media, with real-life examples of popular, shrinking celebrities to demonstrate the problem.

5) Know that all media images of women are digitally manipulated, airbrushed and Photoshopped to an unbelievable extent. Nothing we see is real.

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