A group of protesters stripped down to their underwear in front of a Victoria's Secret store in San Francisco. The women (and one man) are part of a group called About-Face, which promotes a healthy body image and fights against the media's representation of a woman's 'idealized' body.
Their message through this demonstration called Operation Real Bodies Real Love: About-Face Action of Body Acceptance and Self-Love was that "not everybody needs to be like that in order to be attractive, in order to be awesome in general," said Jennifer Berger, Executive Director of About-Face.
The Daily Mail reports that About-Face is hoping to encourage International brands like Victoria's Secret to include more realistic and diverse body types in their media campaigns.
How wonderful to see the looks of joy and adventure on the faces of those protesting. This seems like the richest way to talk back to advertisements and ideologies we do not agree with - show the truth. A healthy body image begins with embracing the bodies we have, not trying to fit the ideals created by others.
Young, impressionable women end up looking up to the models they see in the media. They look and see them as what they should aspire to, what they should reach toward, rather than reaching toward their own personal best.
In line with that, South Bay mother promotes positive body image with Facebook page, is another example of a woman staking claim to her beauty. Jessy Kissinger is a mom who started a Facebook page for moms to post pictures of themselves in their bikinis. No matter what size they wear.
Kissinger told KTVU she is happy and is looking forward to taking her two children to the beach this summer without wearing a cover-up.
Wouldn't it be radical if we all felt so awesome about ourselves that what our bodies look like would not be our main concern? Just think about how much extra energy we would have for other adventures in life.
As a society, we must be invested in what idealized women's images show and represent. If we weren't, we would take a stand against corporations so blatantly compartmentalizing who is considered sexy and womanly. Corporations assume this is how we want to be treated because we don't speak loudly enough against it, otherwise these ads could not exist.
We have been raised in a society where the only women we see fighting the issues are those labeled as 'feminists' or 'fat' in a demeaning voice. The majority of admired female icons are supermodels in bathing suits adorning sports magazine covers in grocery stores. Is it a surprise that we grew up to be women who see female power as equivalent to how good a woman looks in a bikini? Is it any shock that so many women suffer from a desire to be perfect, which has resulted in self-image problems and dangerous physical diseases like anorexia and bulimia?
I am a woman. I feel anger at the stereotyping that we as women have learned to accept. We are still being represented as an 'idealized' gender, which Victoria's Secret unabashedly points out to us. Until we stand up and say there's something backwards going on, until we cry out at the inequality in advertising...nothing will change. I want things to change. I want the next generation of women to not be confused by the double, fragmented, world they live in.
I want Victoria's Secret to market to all of us. I wear underwear, too.
Follow Sheila Hageman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SheilaMHageman