I thought this whole “you have to be skinny to be perfect” thing was something that had been going on for ages. I had no idea how much of it is a result of the media! Check out this amazing advertisement my friends Krysta and Dave found. Talk about totally different ideas of beauty!
You know how in the book I mentioned two young women who started a branch of “The Body Project” at their university? Well Sierra was one of those women. When I was speaking at an event at Palm Beach Atlantic University a few years ago, I met Sierra. She showed me around Palm Beach and we had a ton of fun. I was impressed by her heart, character, and her passion for the Lord and for others. When thinking of who would be the perfect person to speak on this topic, she instantly came to mind. She was Miss Florida 2008 and came in the top 5 finalists for Miss America the following year. As someone who has been in the media, she has a unique insider’s perspective on media awareness. Check out what she has to say – it’s both encouraging and insightful!
We hoped to put this together like a skype coffee date, since Sierra’s in North Carolina and I’m in New York. Unfortunately, we weren’t quite able to make that work, but it turned out awesomely anyway. You’ll hear someone reading out loud in the background the questions I had asked her to answer. I love this, and I think you will too!
Deleted Scene:Okay so this deleted scene is a little different. This piece called “Pawns” wasn’t going to be in the book; rather, it’s paragraphs from a paper I wrote in college about advertising’s effect on us. Don’t worry; it’s not boring. (I tried never to write a boring paper, cause what fun is that?) It’s called “Pawns” and was written for a class called “Introduction to Mass Communications” that I took at Roberts Wesleyan College during my senior year. Check it out!
Photoshop: Oh, Photoshop. As I talked about in the book, a lot of times models don’t even look like themselves after their photoshopper has done his or her magic. So just to bring this home a little more, I asked my friend Matt Ebent to work on a project with me. I wanted him to make me look completely and totally photoshopped, kind of like Barbie, in order to give a picture of how much photoshop can change the way a person looks. To top it off, I took a picture when I first woke up in the morning to show you how different just makeup, hair, a nice outfit, and a good photographer (like my friend Lacey Nichols) can make.
Here’s when I first wake up in the morning…
So let me ask…how do you go from that…to this?
Pretty crazy, huh? It’s amazing what a little photoshopping can do! As my friend Matt, who’s a graphic designer, was doing this for me, he tweeted: “Turning an already pretty woman into a 14 yr old boy with big breasts.” And then, “Done! I got to say, honestly a little part of me died inside for doing that to an image of a friend.”
It was an interesting experience for me as well. When I saw the original picture my friend Lacey took, I thought, “Wow, I look thin. Maybe I should gain a little weight.” But then, as soon as the two photos were side by side, I thought, “Wow, that original photo looks chubby now!” Even though I’d never want to look like the photo on the right, it totally changed my perspective on the original. How easy it is for us to always feel dissatisfied with our bodies, when what we’re comparing ourselves to is so “perfect” in the eyes of our culture. If we didn’t have that constant comparison, I wonder if we’d feel at all better about ourselves?
Become a “Media Watchdog”: Want to learn how to look deeper into advertisements you see? Want to make a difference? Check out the National Eating Disorder’s Association page on becoming a “media watchdog!”
Songs: This is a song I love: ZoeGirl’s “Skin Deep.” It’s a great reminder that “we are more than our bodies!” You can also listen to a clip of my song “This Is Beauty” or purchase it for yourself by clicking here.
Books: Jean Kilbourne is my role model on this topic. If you are interested in uncovering some of the reasons our society is programmed to obsess over beauty, check out her books – specifically her book “Deadly Persuasion.” If you’re looking for an easy read, down-to-earth look at how the media impacts our perspective of beauty, and how to change that in your circle of influence, read “All Made Up” by Audrey D. Braschich. This would be a great book for a book study. This next one isn’t a book – it’s a short article. If you’re interested in finding out more about “The Impact of Media Images on Body Image and Behaviors” – then check this out!
Films: “Killing Us Softly 4” by Jean Kilbourne is a half hour, entertaining presentation would be the perfect video to get you and your friends discussing the image the media presents. It is humorous, intriguing, and educational. Here’s a trailer so you can see what it’s all about. [Note: It does contain images that may be inappropriate for some.] Now check out Taylor Swift’s definition of beauty – it’s beautiful (pun intended). Lastly, the other video which you have to see (if you haven’t already), is Dove’s video Evolution. Every woman should see this short clip, which shows the effects of photoshop, and just a few of the drastic measures advertisers take to create a perfect image that isn’t even real. You can watch it below:
Bible Reading: Check out Romans 12:1-2 and ask yourself, “In what ways am I trying to match my life to the cookie cutter shapes of this world? How can I instead make my life look the way God wants it to, while caring less what my culture thinks?” There is a lot of pressure around us to fit into the mold society lays out for us. That mold tells us what we should consider most important: how to dress, talk, live, who to date, etc. But Paul says not to go along with that, not to try to fit yourself into that mold. Instead he says to be transformed by renewing your mind. We can renew or wash our mind through reading the word of God (Eph. 5:26) and being reminded of His truth. This is why it’s so important to immerse ourselves in His word each day; so we can see the truth and discern the pattern of the world; so we have the courage to be transformed instead of conformed.