In a follow-up article for the Good News Network, Cristina Frick, having just completed her Master’s degree in Clinical and Community Psychology, compiles a slew of good news about campaigns that help women and young girls build confidence in their own bodies.
A Mental Health Minute
Against the backdrop of 10 million women dealing with eating disorders in the US alone, the Delta Delta Delta sorority helped launch the Reflections Body Image Program to focus on the health, wellness, and positive body image of young women in sororities across the United States. As a research-based program designed to prevent eating disorders, the campaign’s effectiveness was proven quite successful in empirical research.
In fact, the statistics of this program, created in collaboration with Dr. Carolyn Becker, professor of psychology at Trinity University, are truly amazing. For example, at one college, 48 percent of participants said they felt fat almost every day. Eight months later, the Reflections program had reduced by more than half the number of times these same participants felt that way, and some of the young women never had negative thoughts about themselves again — pretty powerful statistics.
So what exactly is this program doing that is so effective and so different from others? Reflections is unique because it is peer-led, which encourages a spirit of collaboration and unity. In addition, the program is interactive, which encourages investment and teamwork. Activities are designed to help end “fat talk” (comments that emphasize weight) and motivate participants to focus on positive attributes other than appearance.
To find out about bringing the Reflections program to your campus or workplace: Apply at www.bodyimageprogram.org.
Fat Talk-Free Week
This October, you can participate in the first international Fat Talk Free Week created by the Reflections Body Image Program. The event focuses on ending “fat talk” among women, cutting out expressions like, “I look fat in this,” and voicing positive remarks to each other, “You look great!”
The Reflections website gives tips for reducing fat talk and encourages women to pledge not to complain about their bodies, and learn to accept compliments, especially about appearance. It is helpful to recruit a friend and make a pact together to fully disengage in any fat talk.
Fat Talk Free Week begins October 18. Pledge to stop engaging in fat talk by signing the petition on their website. Watch a video about the epidemic of Fat Talk at Caitlin’s Operation Beautiful, a wonderful project promoting women’s self-esteem that was referenced in my first Good News Network body image article.
Adios Barbie, at LoveYourBody.org, bills itself as a “The Body Image Site for Every Body.” It’s a web collection featuring articles about the media pressures to be thin, self-esteem and loving your body, but with a unique twist: It compiles articles specific to every populations, like individuals who are disabled, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Another unique feature is an archive of articles about men’s body image. Body image is not an issue that is unique to women, although most programs focus on women. The site also features reviews of relevant books along with an extensive list of resources that champion body confidence.
“Body Outlaws,” is the site’s collection of essays about healthy body image compiled into a book by Ophira Edut, the site’s founder. The book evolved into a series of successful monologues for college stage and community theater performances. (Request a script and copyright information by e-mailing email@example.com.)
It is obvious to me that women (and men too) have said “enough is enough” to unrealistic ideals for body image and beauty. The organizations and projects mentioned in Parts 1 and 2 of my body image series give me hope that we have come a long way.
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Cristina Frick is a contributing writer and has been a volunteer editor at the Good News Network since 2006. She recently completed her Master’s degree in Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte — and she loved it there! All of Cristina’s articles can be viewed on the Good News Network, including previous columns in her Mental Health Minute series.
“I would like to dedicate this first article after my hiatus to everyone who has supported me, including my amazing mom, grandpa, family, friends, Brad, professors, and Geri. Dad and Grandma: I want to dedicate this to you- I know you are watching over me and supporting me and are very proud.”