Over the past year I have been hard at work helping to create a tremendous social change project that I am extremely passionate about, #Stopthebeautymadness. Sharing my story, bringing amazing voices to the conversation and creating support for the millions it impacts is all part of this campaign and my calling. Here is a blog I recently wrote about it.
Many 10 year olds are on a diet. And studies show that by the age of 8 most children are dissatisfied with their bodies and that body image shaming actually can begin in pre-school. How does this happen? How do our beautiful and brilliant babies so quickly embrace these beliefs and messages? How do we stop it? What can we do?
When I gave birth to my children each of them was a beautiful miraculous being. I saw them as the embodiment of love, vibrant joy, and a pure awakened beauty. Upon taking their first breaths of immense possibilities, I held them in awe and wonder. I wanted for each of them all that they could hold and be, all that they could dream and create. I think most parents keep this in their hearts for their children.
I remember as a child having a love/hate relationship with my body. I remember the teasing, the bullying, the name-calling done by others to me, and even worse, done to me by myself. I remember embarrassment. I remember the intense longing to fit in. I then remember slowly drifting away and finding solace and rest from the pain in nature, books, poetry and song, but also in isolation. I was born in a culture where no matter how smart I was, how funny, how creative or how kind, if I did not fit a certain body image, I was not good enough. And so the bitter battle continued.
I fought the battle. I spent years climbing out from under the rock of shame. I challenged the rules. I spat in the face of the labels. Not everyone does, though. For some the battle is too large, to pain filled, to overwhelming and far too impossible. And so they give up. In the giving up they lose their spark, their essence, or worse. Knowing this and witnessing it time and time again as my friends, daughters, clients and peers faced the battle; I could no longer stand by without bringing voice, my voice, to the conversation.
It is time to bring a change, a BIG change to this beauty game that we are all pawns in. We have the numbers behind us. There are many of us who have had enough. But the powers that be, the mindset behind the standards, the rules of the game have us thinking we have to face it alone. We believe no one understands our feelings. We face shame and want to withdraw.
The exact opposite needs to happen. We need to be able to talk about this, even though it is scary and uncomfortable. The more we do, the more power we will gain and the less daunting it will become. We need to bring awareness to the absurdity of so much of the beauty industry’s standards, to the medias tactics and to the messages we are sending our youth.
The Stop The Beauty Madness Campaign is one way to begin this change. My passion is to carry this message out and have this conversation with all of you. My dream is to see, in my lifetime, women embracing their power, living life fully, loving and honoring their bodies and celebrating each other with tremendous positivity and acceptance. It is time to stop this beauty madness.
We need to begin today, right now, in this moment … not sometime soon nor should we leave it to the next generation to tackle. Imagine how much of a difference we can make if we all stand up and say ENOUGH! Imagine if we began to learn new ways to speak about our selves and others, if we learned our true definition of beauty, if we stopped trying to seek perfection and instead found the wondrous splendor that is within us all. Imagine the freedom. Imagine the power. Imagine the joy. Are you ready for the change? Will you join me in this important conversation? Let’s join forces and finally end this game of beauty madness.
Lisa Meade is the Senior Blogger and Community Relations Director of the Stop The Beauty Madness campaign, www.stopthebeautymadess.com. Both in her work and on her life-path, she brings beauty awareness and body positive support to those she meets.