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Love Your Body: More Ideas for Promoting Positive Body Image
Make a pact with yourself to treat your body with respect, and do things to promote positive body image. For example, give yourself a break from women's magazines and the mass media. Try a new physical activity just for fun, not to lose weight. Stop weighing yourself, and change your goal from weight loss to improving your health.
Lobby to add "size" and "physical appearance" to local, state, and national anti-discrimination legislation.
Size discrimination in employment. Put pressure on companies that discriminate against fat people or force employees into weight-loss programs.
Picket beauty pageants. Don't accept the argument that pageants provide scholarships for womenscholarships should be given for academic merit and economic need, not for how a woman looks in a bathing suit and high heels.
Organize an International No-Diet Day Action (May 6th every year). Participants wear light-blue ribbons.
Have an action where you either throw away or burn the following items: bathroom scales, diet books, tapes or videos, calorie counters, tape measurers, make-up, high heels, one-size-fits-all clothing, advertizing that objectifies women, etc.
Picket "men's clubs," Hooters or any business that exploits women's bodies.
Conduct a media watch. Activists from different groups can put together a media watch. Divide TV shows by channel and assign different shows to members. Ask them to write down the shows (and commercials) that objectify women's bodies. Bring examples to meetings and write to the marketing director of the companies involved.
Cancel magazine subscriptions when offensive advertisements are run; tell them why.
Lobby the Food and Drug Administration to control diet drugs and the diet industry.
Have programs or Consciousness Raising sessions on the issue. These programs can also be held at state, regional and national conferences. Emphasis should be on moving toward an action agenda. The Redefining Liberation video provided to all NOW chapters can be used as a starting point for discussions.
Picket shoe manufacturers and shoe stores. The American Podiatrist Association estimates that one in five American women will have to have operations on our feet because of the poorly-designed shoes we are encouraged to buy and wear (e.g. high heels and extremely narrow, pointed toes).
Picket "large" size women's clothing stores that actually don't carry sizes above those of regular department stores, won't use large models, and won't respond after you've expressed your complaints.
Fight accessibility problems. Large-sized people are discriminated against because of seating in restaurants and theaters, on airplanes and other forms of public transportation, and because of turnstiles that prohibit access. If you are an "average-sized" person, your advocacy on this issue will more likely result in change; fat people's complaints are often met with insults and hostility.
Make sure that seating at your organization/association meetings, state, and regional conferences does not discriminate. Large-sized people need sturdy chairs without arms that do not sit too close to the ground. If a large-sized woman comes to your chapter meeting and is uncomfortable, she is unlikely to come back. And she could be a great activist because she knows what it's like to encounter daily discrimination.
Make sure your local university/college does not discriminate by having inaccessible seating. A woman of size may not be able to attend college because there is not a single chair in an entire building that will accommodate her. (They are all student desks with attached arm and desk areathe same size used in elementary schools.)
Make sure there are programs in schools that teach tolerance and non-violence and that they include teaching that fat kids should not be harassed. Currently, several school systems actually have programs that are supposed to teach healthy eating, but actually reenforce stereotypes and discrimination. Two states have programs that send letters home to parents to tell them that their child is too fat!
Challenge attitudes; challenge fat jokes.
Stop dieting; avoid participating in the diet culture. This does not preclude striving to eat healthy foods, but dieting solely to lose weight can be very unhealthy and, for many, is futile. Healthy eating and dieting are definitely not the same.
©2000 - 2011 National Organization for Women (NOW) Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign