I got into the body image discussion in order to heal my own relationship with my body. This crazy culture has done a number on generations of women, making almost all of us feel flawed in comparison to an unreachable ideal. I stayed in the discussion because I found the pressure got much worse for the next generation, our kids.
Our kids have more pressure from the current Kardashian culture to conform to a body ideal. 70% percent of adolescent girls and 50% of adolescent boys today suffer from body dissatisfaction. Body dissatisfaction underlies all eating disorders and is directly linked to depression and isolation. Recent studies blame kids’ social media use which has become more visual in recent years with Instagram and Snapchat.
It’s time to do something to address it. We've created a campaign that re-focuses kids and society on those things that matter more -- the real pieces of who they are. In Illinois we are launching the Be Real Illinois Campaign to change this culture’s beliefs about bodies, that haven’t worked well for anyone in the last 50 years of diet culture.
A committed, energetic group of moms are starting the Be Real llinois Campaign in the spirit of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) from the 1980s. MADD moms saw a problem, and created grassroots, practical solutions for spreading the norms of designated drivers and a practical Safe-rides program to schools all across the USA. Drunk driving deaths for teens went down by half because of their work.
Like MADD, Be Real Illinois has practical tools to give to schools and parents to change our kids’ negative trajectory on body image. Body dissatisfaction has been a field of academic study for decades. We know what causes negative body image and we have a pretty good idea of how to avoid it. Be Real llinois has created a model for teaching teachers about body image issues, giving them advice on how to create a Body Confident School Environment, and linking them to a free-resourced, body image curriculum. Our model is being evalulated for efficacy and scalability by STRIPED, the Harvard School of Public Health's eating disorder prevention incubator.
Our mission is to ensure children have the self-esteem necessary to realize their full potential. We plan to engage stakeholders and thought leaders from local communities, government/schools, business, philanthropy, and academia to join the campaign spread body confidence through Illinois, and when we have that program in place, we are headed to Michigan and across the entire USA.
We need your help to make this happen. Email us; we have organized opportunities for you to make a difference. You have a chance to get in on the ground floor of a campaign to change a culture that isn’t working well for anyone’s body image. Join us.