readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Few Words on Body Image

Diva Justina sent me this link last week about a contestant for the Miss Universe Australia beauty contest. Clearly underweight, she made the finals, and her skin-and-bones image created controversy around the world. The first thing I thought when I saw the photo was that she could do runway modeling. True, she's thin for a traditional beauty pageant contestant, but she's not far off a runway model's body type. How crazy is that?!

So how do we shift society's perceptions of beauty to a healthier place? I'm not sure, but here's a start:

1. We have to continue to listen to, support and celebrate girls like Ali Michael (left), a model who spoke out about her struggles with weight inside the fashion industry (and eerily paralleled my main character Violet's struggles in Violet by Design.)

2. Kudos to My Favorite Author for their Body Image Theme Week (it's not too late to join the Body Image Challenge!) with bloggers like The Story Siren, Presenting Lenore, and In Bed With Books, plus authors Deborah Lytton, Sarah Darer Littman, Sara Zarr, Megan Frazer, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sydney Salter and Erin Dionne.

3. We should cheer for Scarlett Johansson, who posted a very smart and responsible piece in the Huffington Post about what healthy really means. (Thanks, Little Willow!)

4. Yay for Susan Boyle!

Where else is true beauty shining? Comment away!


Little Willow said...

RE: Miss Universe Australia: That is crazy. 118 pounds at 5'11" seems extremely unhealthy to me.

Go Ali Michael!

Go Body Image Theme Week! (Yay for Sweethearts being profiled at readergirlz in JUNE!)

Go Scarlett Johansson!

Marie said...

Australia looks very unhealthy. It is so weird to me how the media creates this form of "beauty"... yikes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting a link to us, we are having great feedback from people taking the challenge! Thanks!

David K said...

I was just thinking about this yesterday, actually - how the modern "perfect woman" is so thin, and most of the girls I know seem to think they're too fat.

Just to throw a guy's perspective in here, I really don't find the emaciated look very attractive at all.

Melissa Walker said...

Good point, David. I think women look at each other WAY differently than men look at us.

Erin said...

That Scarlett Johansson article rocked. MAJOR kudos to her!

holly cupala said...

Great article, Melissa! It seems like Ms. Johansson has a healthy attitude. We can be so hard on ourselves. Have you seen Sara Zarr's wonderful article on Body Image, and her photo editing nightmare? She has links over at her blog, here: http://www.sarazarr.com/?p=1078

I admire her opinion very much.

Michelle Kuo said...

Oh wow, just the other day, I was thinking about how distorted the world's view on "true beauty" is. My friend told me she went to a the myspace of a girl from our school, who is pretty much skin and bones (except not because she was on a diet, it's just that she's naturally super skinny and has very fast metabolism!). But then on the myspace, she actually put on there "I'm getting fat.." I was totally shocked!

Have you seen the Campaign for Real Beauty by Dove? I went through pretty much everything on their website and it's all really inspiring. This video especially:

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