Love Your Body:
Campus and Community Actions
Whether you have 6 minutes or 6 weeks...
You can TAKE ACTION to bring
NOW's Love Your Body Campaign
to your Chapter, Campus Affiliate and Community!
Dear NOW Activist,
Like the beautiful and unique bodies of women, feminist actions come in all shapes and sizes. The ideas in this toolkit celebrate both women's empowerment and our ability to find inspiration and opportunities for activism wherever we look.
These suggestions for action are designed based on available time. Even the activists at the front of the picket line will agree that there is rarely enough time to do it all. These ideas are designed so women can evaluate how much time they have--and act accordingly!
So whether you have 6 minutes or 6 weeks, there are options to fit your schedule. From a day without makeup to spending time mentoring young women, this toolkit gives you ideas for large and small ventures that can be incredibly inspiring.
So use these ideas to educate, empower, and remind yourself and the women in your life and community to LOVE YOUR BODY!
How much time do you have?
Got 6 weeks (or a little less)?
Got 60 seconds?
- Contribute to NOW Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign.
- Recycle all magazines that don't portray healthy bodies.
- Read magazines that inspire women by presenting positive, powerful images. Some examples are:
- Ms. Magazine
- Teen Voices
- Working Mother
- She Magazine
- off our backs.
- Take off your makeup!
- Put on your most comfortable clothes.
- Compliment the next woman you see!
There are wonderful things we can say to make even a perfect stranger have a better day!
Got 6 minutes?
- Take NOW's Love Your Body quiz.
- Start designing your own poster to submit to next year's Love Your Body Poster competition.
- Throw away, or at least set aside:
- Your scale and mirrors
- Fashion magazines
- One article of clothing that makes you feel badly about
- Your makeup
- Diet books, diet pills, and other risky weight-loss aids.
- Put up sticky notes featuring quotes or positive affirmations on your fridge, mirrors, closet and front door.
- Change the background on your computer to a picture of yourself that you feel great about!
- Listen to a song that reminds you of how great you are, like:
- Independent Women -- Destiny's Child
- I'm Every Woman -- Chaka Kahn
- Beautiful -- Carole King
- I Am Not My Hair -- India.Arie
- Hand In My Pocket -- Alanis Morrisette
- As Cool As I Am -- Dar Williams
- Beautiful -- Christina Aguilera
- Respect -- Aretha Franklin
- 32 Flavors -- Ani DiFranco
- Can't Hold Us Down -- Christina Aguilera
- Just a Girl -- No Doubt
- Bitch -- Meredith Brooks
- Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves -- Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox
- Superwoman -- Alicia Keys
- Video -- India.Arie
- Strong Enough -- Cher
- I Will Survive -- Gloria Gaynor
- Survivor -- Destiny's Child
- Unpretty -- TLC
- Send the women in your family an e-card and tell them how wonderful and beautiful you think they are!
Got 60 minutes?
- Write a letter to the editor of your local/campus newspaper about:
- How the negative images of women in the media affect how women and girls are treated. Talk about the Love Your Body campaign.
- How women are described in the press. Does the press usually reference a woman's hair, clothes, or "aggressive" behavior while men are described as strong, intelligent, and confident?
- Write and mail 3 cards to women in your life--tell them everything you love about them!
- Print and post positive affirmations in your apartment complex, dorm and/or community so others reflect on loving their bodies too. Use the "Positive Ideas" list in the back to get started!
- Watch TV with a girlfriend. Notice and discuss unrealistic and unfair portrayals of women.
- Go through an old magazine and pull out positive and negative portrayals of women--post the positive ones where you can see them, destroy the negative ones.
- Clean out your closet and donate clothes that don't make you feel wonderful.
- Acknowledge yourself for 3 things you've done that are good for your body and mind--then set 3 new goals.
- Send a girlfriend an anonymous gift. Give her flowers, fruit, or a good
book or movie to celebrate how wonderful she is!
Got 6 hours?
- Organize a petition drive. Identify a sexist ad in your community or campus newspaper, a degrading flier distributed by a local organization or business, or any other blatant promotion of the subordination of women and commodification of our bodies.
- Draft a cover letter regarding said piece.
- Edit and personalize the petition on our website so that it addresses your concerns.
- Collect signatures of those who support respect and equality for women.
- Submit to offending party with demands for change.
- Play the affirmation game. At your next NOW Chapter or Campus Affiliate meeting, try the following exercise:
- Break into 2 groups;
- One group's members sit in a circle with eyes closed;
- One woman calls out a positive statement:
The second group's members tap the women with eyes closed whom they feel that way about.
BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR LOVE!!!
At your next NOW chapter meeting bring several newspapers and analyze the various sections (front page, style, sports) and discuss what you find about how women are portrayed.
- I think you are beautiful!
- I think you are funny!
- I think you are perfect as you are!
Bake treats for your friends, family, co-workers, and NOW sisters.
Write NOW chapter members or co-workers secret notes about how great they are.
Make a poster that says "You are beautiful the way you are" and stand outside a plastic surgery clinic with your friends.
Get NOW members to do a "honk and wave" with signs that encourage motorists to honk in support of women's empowerment and positive body images.
Make t-shirts with positive body-image messages on them. Wear them in public
with your girlfriends!
- BONUS: With your NOW sisters, brainstorm ways to take this message to other women. (This could be a great way to bring more members to your chapter!)
Got 6 days?
- Plan a LYB Movie Night. Show a movie that exemplifies women who are comfortable in their own bodies. Call your friends, e-mail group and club listservs, create a Facebook event, and put up fliers to advertise and invite people to come.
- Tell guests to wear whatever makes them feel good--sweats, flip-flops, or pajamas.
- Serve delicious, decadent foods or silly snacks without the guilt.
- Some movie ideas:
- The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
- Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008)
- Queen Sized (2008)
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008)
- Hairspray (2007)
- Phat Girlz (2006)
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
- Million Dollar Baby (2004)
- Spanglish (2004)
- Real Women Have Curves (2002)
- Tortilla Soup (2001)
- How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
- GI Jane (1997)
- Just Another Girl on the IRT (1993)
- Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
- Coordinate a comfortable clothes day for co-workers. Have your friends do the same thing at their workplaces.
- Start a blog about your perspective on body image and encourage your friends to join the conversation.
- Invite friends and NOW members to a group meditation session or yoga class. Find a volunteer instructor or video to guide you.
- Eat guilt-free for 6 days!
- Do 1 thing for 6 days that you know will make you feel good:
- Go for a walk.
- Take the stairs.
- Watch your favorite TV show.
- Eat your favorite foods.
- Make love with yourself or someone else.
- Start an energy walking club. Meet and walk for 15-30 minutes once a week. Each time, choose a new place that you believe needs a "woman watch" program. Make note of dark spaces and let your local leaders know you want additional lights for safety.
Got 6 weeks (or a little less)?
- Host a forum on women's health issues. Invite women's health experts or local doctors to talk about what good health means for women's bodies.
- Notice the different issues for younger and older women's health, and address the different needs at your event.
- Have a box for "questions you always wanted answered, but were afraid to ask"; encourage people to come early to submit questions.
- Organize a round table about eating disorders for young women and girls OR an eating disorder support group.
- Volunteer as a guest speaker for local young women's/girls' groups, such as:
- Girls Inc.
- Young Women's Club
- Young Women's Lives
- Young Women's Empowerment Project
- Girl Scouts of America
- Campfire USA
- Sign up to mentor a young woman/girl.
- Make an "I am BEAUTIFUL" photo album.
- Go through your old photos and pick out those you feel best about; put those in an album.
- Take pictures of yourself each day that you feel especially beautiful. Then, post them to an album you can share with your friends and family!
- Decorate your album with positive statements about yourself, women and healthy bodies!
- Plan a Love Your Body Rally/Celebration!Offer upbeat music, delicious food, and free services and information. Play games, dance, do yoga, and celebrate! What is your favorite way to show you love your body? Brainstorm with your friends about fun events, give-aways and projects related to loving your body!
Here are some tips for putting on an event or rally.
Sample Letter to the Editor
(Edit to fit your needs)
I am writing to you today as a [student/community member], a [media outlet reader/viewer] and most importantly, a supporter of women's rights.
Your coverage of [person/group/event] was blatantly sexist and shockingly irresponsible. [Name of person/group] was insulted and criticized using gender-based descriptions that focused on her appearance, clothes, voice and other factors that rarely come up when men are discussed.
Taken together, these sexist clichés, stereotypes and insults create an environment of disrespect and outright hostility toward all women [on our campus and in our community]. Any question of whether or not we still need a feminist movement was answered after [watching/reading] your news [program/paper], and the answer is a resounding "Yes!"
[Add name of host/reporter/pundit here] was a key offender in perpetuating this misogyny. [Name of media outlet] should be ashamed to feature someone who would promote such divisive and bigoted rhetoric.
I would like to know whether you are willing to make a commitment to stop producing,
financing and benefiting from what amounts to hate speech. Sexism--as well as
racism, classism, homophobia and other biases--has no place in the dissemination
of news and other media.
I look forward to receiving a response from you addressing this issue.
[Your name here]
Use these ideas as a starting place to make your own positive affirmations to post in your community or on campus!
- Smile, it's free!
- We can, we will, we are able!
- Love yourself, love others!
- We are worth loving.
- You, me...all of us? Priceless.
- Yes you can, yes WE can!
- As we treat others, so we see ourselves.
- We the people, we the loved.
- Our society, so mighty!
- I am a part of all that I have met.