Love Your Body Day
   'Everyone is Beautiful' - graphic designed by Kristine Osborne

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Love Your Body: Get Talking!

The first step in moving beyond unrealistic standards of body and beauty is to get talking about the common themes found in media images of women. We must encourage women and men, girls and boys to think critically about the images they see every day instead of passively accepting them.

The following photos and questions can help spark interesting group discussions about the influence these images have on women's self-esteem, their sexuality, even their role in society. Feel free to use these suggestions, customize them, or come up with ideas of your own.

Note: click on images to get larger versions you can print out (PDFs).


Topic 1 - Beauty Ideals

Three ads, all from the same issue of Martha Stewart Living, all promising "perfection"

What does physical "perfection" mean to you?

Is it ok for advertisers to use images that have been retouched or lightened, making them unattainable?

Should women and girls work on their appearance to fit the current beauty ideals? Is it possible to go too far in trying to achieve "perfection"? How far is too far?

Is it ok for women NOT to wear make-up, style, straighten or color their hair, paint their nails, shave their legs, etc? How does society view and treat women and girls who reject these practices?

Does our society place the same value on men's appearance as it does on women's appearance? Why or why not?

Why do you think "perfect" women are so often portrayed as white? Are light skin and "white" features considered the standard by which everyone is measured in our culture?


Topic 2 - Objectification

Photos of singers Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga (left to right)

What do you think when you see these photos -- what are they trying to say?

How does the use of or allusion to candy contribute to the message in the first two photos?

Do you think the use of guns in the third photo promotes sex and violence?

Do you think that photos and videos of performers like these affect how all women are viewed?

How would a male performer be perceived if he appeared in a similar photograph?


Topic 3 - Glamorizing Violence

Photos of Heather Morris (actor on Glee) - "Even Barbie bruises" says the photographer's website, above these pictures

What story is being told here? Why do you think the photographer chose to portray Heather with a black eye?

How do the iron and ironing board contribute to the message?

Bruised women are a common theme in photography and advertising. Why do you think that is?

Do you think photos like this are offensive? Why or why not?


Topic 4 - Disability

Left: Kenneth Cole ad featuring Aimee Mullins; Right: Belgian ad promoting disability awareness featuring Tanja Kiewitz (based on Wonderbra ad) - text says "Look me in the eyes ... I said the eyes."

What do you think of these ads? Do you notice that the women have physical disabilities?

How often do you see ads or other media images that include people with disabilities?

Do you think it is a step forward to present women with disabilities as physically attractive and sexual, or is it just more objectification?

How do you think it feels to be part of a group of people who rarely see themselves represented in the media? Can you name other groups who are often missing from the images we see?


Send us your comments on this section -- your suggestions might be incorporated into future materials!

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