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Show me the (Self) Love!

December 9, 2009

It took me a long time to accept my body. That’s one of the reasons I fell in love with Girls on the Run – because I seriously could have used it  from about 3rd grade on until probably after college. I was a slightly chunky child with big, thick, black glasses, long tangly hair, and non-name-brand clothing. These characteristics placed me naturally into the geeky crowd, and, despite being a bubbly child, I retreated into myself for many years, becoming shy and quiet, to the point where I was afraid to be called on in class, let alone attempt to try out sports or any activity that could have caused me embarrassment. It really wasn’t until late into my college years that I began to exercise and think about my body in a positive way. To this day I still have many issues with my body, but I’ve come to an understanding with myself that it’s all about balance and I will never be that girl who doesn’t eat her fair share of queso and pizza – I’d rather run that extra 10 miles per week if I need to. 😉

As I think back on those years inside the “Girl Box,” I don’t recall any influences like Girls on the Run or body image media campaigns that attempted to break me out of the box and love myself for who I was. I feel like these days young girls have even more pressures to conform to society’s definition of beauty, and are much more exposed to false and unhealthy images of that beauty – thanks to the Internet and the social media that I’m using to write this post right now. BUT, there also seem to be a growing number of voices and movements reaching out to girls and counteracting those potentially devastating messages. Aside from Girls on the Run, hundreds of organizations have sprung up over the past 10-20 years with missions to build self-esteem and healthy thoughts among young girls and women. I believe that such organizations and movments have multiplied and blossomed over the years for the exact same reasons that I gravitated toward GOTR – out of an overwhelming urge among women that the next generation can and will live outside of the Girl Box.

Take a look at three of, in my opinion, the most innovative social movements going on now to promote positive body image among women. They’re all unique in their approaches, but all have that viral quality that has allowed them to spread and grow quickly. I’ll also include these links on our “Blogs we Follow” and “Web sites we Love.” Do you know of any other social movements or campaigns out there that are making a difference in the lives of women and girls? Please send your thoughts, either through a comment or to

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a mass media campaign consisting of advertisements, confidence-building programs, and other positive body image messages to help us and the next generation be rid of beauty stereotypes.

Operation Beautiful is an incredibly awesome campaign started by health blogger Caitlin. She began Operation Beautiful by posting anonymous positive messages (“You are beautiful”; “You are perfect just the way you are!”) in public places in her city. She opened up her crusade to the world via her Healthy Tipping Point blog, and now Operation Beautiful has spread across the country with hundreds (thousands even?) of people posting random positive messages all over the place. Look for her book to come out next year! Have you seen an Operation Beautiful note in the Atlanta area? Let us know!

The “Exposed” blogger movement involves bloggers from all over the world posting photos of their bodies along with statements of body appreciation, as opposed to body loathing. Renowned health blogger MizFit recently joined the Exposed movement and told a compelling story from her days as a female counselor. She would often ask her clients to draw pictures of themselves, and the vast majority drew body shapes that were much, much larger than they were in reality.

Thanks to these and other social movements going on all around us, is there hope for the next generation of women to live unencumbered by this body loathing that for many of us seems to come naturally?? Send your thoughts and comments!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. MizFit permalink
    December 9, 2009 8:44 am

    I pray there is hope & that’s entirely why I started MizFit as an effort in that direction.

    That said, my experience at the doctor recently (yesterdays post) definitely gave me pause….


    • December 9, 2009 9:02 am

      Omg, I know! I read your post, shocking and disturbing. Thanks for spreading your messages – I love your blog and hope to meet you if I make it to the FitBloggin 2010 conference – as you can see we’re new to blogging but are loving it!

  2. December 9, 2009 12:39 pm

    thank you for spreading this message!

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