National Eating Disorders Association
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Body Image

It’s no secret that advertisers are not always the most reliable when it comes to portraying realistic bodies. However, sometimes a company does get it right and launches a campaign centered on ensuring that very thing happens.

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Women are taught to not be seen. It’s still considered a shameful thing in our society for our natural, naked bodies to be on display. In fact, the general public is so disconnected from real bodies that seeing one can cause shock and inspire heaps of criticism. 

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Last week, my close friend Colleen and I were invited by NEDA to see the NYC premiere of Fattitude. This documentary film was created by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman and it explores the discrimination fat people face—done by society, strangers, and even by loved ones. 

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I’ll never forget the day I arrived at a job interview with my hair dyed black with a subtle hint of blue. I didn’t think it would be an issue at a supposedly young and innovative media company, but my interviewer couldn’t see past my hair to my qualifications. Instead of listening to my responses to her questions, she looked at me like I flew into the interview from outer space and our conversation ended after only 15 minutes. 

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We spend more time than ever using media and everywhere we turn there are messages telling us how we should look that can make us feel less confident about our appearance. While we’re probably not going to use less media, we can protect our self-image and body confidence from media’s narrow body ideals that reinforce thinness for women and muscularity for men. It’s all about asking the right questions. 

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It’s National Media Literacy Week, and you might be thinking, “I’m a savvy Millennial who knows everything there is to know about the Internet.” At least that’s what I thought until I read this really awesome, easy-to-use, super weapon called the Get REAL! Digital Media Literacy Toolkit. Before reading the toolkit, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the digital media culture because I grew up in it.

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The world, at times, can feel like an overwhelming place and it so critical for those in the public eye to speak out against the daily injustices committed against the most marginalized.

You’d expect politicians, activists, and even celebrities to speak out, but over in Peru, beauty pageant contestants used their time in the spotlight to call attention to violence against women. 

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Halloween can be a difficult time of the year for those who are struggling or who have struggled with an eating disorder. The overwhelming presence of candy and attention-grabbing costumes can often make the night feel as though it’s fueled more by tricks than treats. It can be especially difficult since it is so ingrained in our culture and thus, difficult to avoid. 

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People often assume that dance training is at odds with the ideals of body positivity. I can understand why – at the professional level, dance has a longstanding reputation of requiring a very narrow ideal body shape and size and dance class can often focus on physical shortcomings. That said, I am a dance teacher, and I believe in the power of body positivity. I believe in its power to inspire young people and to train better, stronger dancers.

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On October 9, NEDA surveyed over 333 people about how accurately they felt the media portrayed people’s bodies. Of these people, 68% of respondents chose “Very inaccurately,” 24% chose “Fairly inaccurately,” 7% chose “Fairly accurately,” and 1% chose “Very accurately.” 

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