Too sexy, too thin, and way too much airbrushing: this is how women and teenage girls are often depicted in the media, but lately there has been lots of push-back. Thank goodness there are more and more efforts to speak out against all the unrealistic images we see of women with perfect bodies, perfect hair, perfect makeup.

Documentary films such as Miss Representation have been challenging our beauty-obsessed culture, and other incentives and articles are exposing the fact that most of the glamorous photos we see in magazines are touched up to make them “better.” There’s also been more encouragement for women to be proud of their accomplishments instead of “dumb downing” certain accomplishments (like being good in math or science) to appear, well, more girly.

And since we’re smack in the middle of Women’s History Month—this is a great time to celebrate women’s education, accomplishments, and empowerment—way, way beyond just how they look.

I think about these issues a lot because I have a 10-year-old daughter who’s already worried about the way she looks, who tells me that there are boys in her class who are smarter than her in math, and who is often glued to magazines full of gorgeous, sexy teen idols. I can see the impossible-to-attain culture of beauty coming towards her like a runaway train but I feel powerless to stop it. It’s pretty upsetting.

I know it’s not easy to accept looking simply “normal” when so many of the images we see of women and teens and young girls are so seemingly perfect. Heck, I went through the whole feeling inadequate thing when I was a teen and, to be honest, there are still some days when it’s tough. But I do know this is not how we’re supposed to feel! Striving for a flat stomach or long eyelashes or super-lustrous hair is mostly about fitting someone else’s vision of what we’re supposed to aspire to or care about. More important is that we accept ourselves for who we actually are.  That we be ourselves.

If you’re looking for support or tips on how to deal with the media hype and how to keep focused on the beauty within, there’s no better place to start than BodiMojo.

Some ideas:

• Check out the Body Talk interactive tool for ways to debunk negative body talk.

• Learn how genetics plays a big role in body shape.

• Read how one teen handles negative body image thoughts.

 

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