Recently, Lindsay Kite from the non-profit Beauty Redefined shared a post to Facebook that might change the way you view your self-image.
In just three simple sentences, Kite summed up the powerful message she and her sister have shared with women around the world, a message they've also shared with LDS Living. Here are just a few of those messages from Lexie and Lindsay Kite that are worth remembering:
When it is so easy to get caught up in the way we look, sometimes the best way to improve self-esteem is to forget ourselves for a moment. . . .
Since we’ll see more images of women in one week of media than we’ll ever see face to face, we must regularly give ourselves a reality check by remembering what real beauty looks like. This definition accounts for much more than superficial attractiveness, whether it’s the acknowledgment of an inspired church lesson or a well-played soccer game, a tasty meal or endearing laugh lines on the face of a friend. Though media definitions of beauty aren’t going to loosen up, we know we can reclaim our power by turning away from images that hurt us and looking directly at one another. We can take control every time we turn away from media that causes us to feel subpar or portrays women as sexual objects instead of thinking, feeling humans, or when we speak out about what we perceive as harmful.
Stop Negative Self-Talk: Too many girls and women have a constant script of mean thoughts about themselves running through their minds. That kind of negativity is not motivational or inspirational. In fact, it tends to show up on the outside. Recent studies show us that girls who don’t like their bodies become more sedentary over time and pay less attention to having a healthy diet. And that makes sense. If you think you’re gross and worthless, why would you take care of yourself?
Think Nice Thoughts Instead: On the flipside of the last study, research has found that girls who feel good about themselves, regardless of their weight, are more likely to be physically active and eat healthy. They are less likely to gain unnecessary weight and they make healthy lifestyle choices way into the future. Remember that what we THINK about our bodies has a strong connection to how we TREAT our bodies.
Object to Objectification: Girls and women exposed to sexually objectifying messages (which are inescapable in today’s media landscape), prove to experience body hatred, learn to primarily view and value themselves for their outward appearance and actually endorse objectifying images in the future. And a particularly scary fact is that research proves these harmful messages leave females preoccupied with their physical appearance, which then hurts their performance in school (including mathematics, logical reasoning, spatial skills) and athletic activities. Yikes.
Redefining Healthy: Getting back to reality involves figuring out what “health” really means – and it’s not what media shows us. For-profit media like fitness magazines or TV shows would have us believe health and fitness are all about what we look like, and any doctor can tell us that simply isn’t true. Talk to a doctor or other health specialist to figure out what healthy really means for you individually. Work with them to set healthy goals for yourself that aren’t based off profit-driven beauty ideals.
Be Critical of Media, Not Yourself or Others: While the U.S. is the No. 1 producer and exporter of media, we are also the only industrialized country in the world without some form of media literacy in public school curriculum. We need to feel an obligation to put media under closer inspection for the influence it has in our lives. Next time you are flipping through a magazine or watching a movie, train yourself to ask important questions about what you see. If you don’t like the answers you find, remember you can turn away from the messages that hurt you!