The media has a huge effect on normalising our values and thanks to the media many of us have now become accustomed to a certain ‘standard’ of beauty. The unreachable standard of beauty portrayed in magazines and television can play a part in the loss of body confidence, causing people to question their looks. There have been numerous studies and experiments undertaken that have proved the link in particular between the medias overexposure of the thin ideal and an audiences internalisation of this ideal.
In our media saturated society it is very difficult to escape the false body image advertising that has a profound effect on influencing society’s expectations of the ideal body shape.
Victoria Secret’s ‘The Perfect Body’ campaign received a huge volume of complaints for controversially only featuring thin women, undermining all body positive campaigns. Victoria Secret reacted to the objections by changing the title of their campaign to ‘A Body for Everybody’.
Although it has been publicised that advertisements are often photo shopped or unnaturally tampered with to alter a models appearance. Even when aware of this, adverts make up 30% of all television air time, therefore this constant flow of manipulated images will unconsciously have an effect, often stirring up feelings of inadequacy.
Ditch the Label are a non-profit organisation and award winning anti-bullying charity. Their aim is to work extensively to teach society that it’s ok to be different, because everybody is. In order to spread their message, Ditch the Label have launched a new campaign in the form of a body image photoshoot. The only requirement is that you are 18+ and wearing plain black underwear. Ditch the Label specifically want a representation of all body shapes and sizes and therefore the campaign is open to anyone and everyone.
Images will only feature the neck to the knee, preserving anonymity. The photos are being used as part of a teaching aid with images published online. Furthermore all photos published are anonymous with comments being disabled on the site. Distinguishable marks and tattoos can be removed to further conceal identity if so required.
The campaign will take place on Saturday 30th January between 2pm-8pm at 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL and you are welcome to bring a friend for support. If you would like to take part, please add your name to the list here.
Body positive media campaigns are needed to combat the narrow image of beauty that appears to be dominating society at this current time. We also need to redefine what ‘beauty’ is as this definition appears to be lost. The truth is everybody is beautiful and the pressure to conform to unreachable stereotypes is damaging our happiness and confidence, particularly amongst young people.
A study carried out by Dove in 2010 revealed that only 4% of women globally consider themselves beautiful. This encouraged Dove’s ‘Choose Beautiful’ campaign which featured a variety of women both in age and body. The campaign was created as a movement to encourage self-esteem, celebrating the natural physical variations that are apparent in all women.
Men are often overlooked from body positive campaigns suggesting that these anxieties are only experienced by women and that men are immune to the effects of the media. Statistically, research on body image shows that women are more critical of their bodies than men, however this does not mean that men are completely absent from these issues. The Guardian discovered that 80.7% of men use language that promotes anxiety in relation to their body image possessing flaws and imperfections. Furthermore the Guardian also discovered that 63% of men think that their arms and chest are not muscular enough and a lot of this worry has been attributed to normalised expectations exhibited by the mass media.
Ditch the Labels campaign includes people of all genders, races, body types, even pregnant bodies, for that reason there is no discrimination in their agenda. Their hope is that the images created will counteract the damage that has been caused by the media and other societal pressures, in turn promoting a positive and realistic body image.
If you’d like to find out more about Ditch the Labels campaign please click here.
Photographs: Victoria Secret, Dove, Visual News, Bodylove Campaign Cologne