Every day we are bombarded with digitally altered, airbrushed images of "beauty" offering girls and women an unrealistic and unattainable standard of appearance.
The negative affects of these standard images, based on age-old gender stereotypes, can lead girls toward low self-esteem, eating disorders, excessive exercise and violence - as the images promote the objectification of women and normalize inequality between the sexes.
Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership Through Alliances (DELTA), Juneau's local violence prevention program, hosted two "Real Beauty/ Love Your Body" workshops last week with great success in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The workshops were based on two national campaigns, Dove's Real Beauty Campaign and the National Organization for Women's Love your Body campaign. The workshops are powerful, educational, creative sessions for girls and their adult female mentors: mothers, sisters, relatives or friends. They promote a dialogue between generations on beauty, self-image and self-esteem.
Two workshops were offered one for girls ages 8 to 13, and the other girls ages 14 to 18 and their adult mentors. Between the two workshops, more than 75 girls and women participated, increasing their knowledge of media literacy and developed skills to increase their self-esteem and self-confidence.
This was the first workshop within a larger strategic plan to provide comprehensive education on the negative affects of gender stereotypes and its role in healthy and unhealthy relationships.
If you are interested in hosting a workshop, in submitting a "Love Your Body" poster for NOW's Love your body poster contest, or want to gather together for greater discussion please contact AWARE at 586-6623.
Ati Nasiah is the prevention manager for AWARE.