The world of social media presents an interesting dichotomy. The challenges of existing in an online community are ever increasing. Concerns about safety and security are high on the list of course (particularly for parents with tech savvy kids) but additional risks to overall well-being and self-esteem are lingering close behind. Dangers include online bullying, exposure to harmful imagery or media, and the less sensationalized, yet still problematic, body bashing and body comparison often experienced within sites like Facebook and Pinterest.
Yet while these risks exist, these same online communities also provide a great opportunity for social change and grassroots organizing. We’ve seen two such examples of powerful social media campaigns this week that we thought were worth sharing. If you struggle with the body toxic environment online OR offline, perhaps these are opportunities for you to help create change for yourself and for others. Take a look, find out more, get involved. Just think, every minute you spend advocating for media literacy, body positivity and truth is one less minute you have to engage in the alternatives.
The Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 (HR4341) was introduced earlier this week with bipartisan support from Representatives in Florida and California and with collaboration from several great organizations including The Eating Disorders Coalition and The Brave Girls Alliance.
The groundbreaking bill calls on the Federal Trade Commission to develop a legislative framework for advertisements that alter the human body (i.e. shape, size, proportion, color, etc.) and asks for recommendations and remedies for photoshopped ads that are determined to be false/deceptive and which may contribute to “a series of emotional, psychological and physical health issues, and economic consequences – particularly affecting, but not limited to, girls and women.” (via Brave Girls Alliance). If this is something you support, its easy to get involved in any of the following ways:
- Add your name to the Change.org petition by Seth Matlins
- Read this great write-up about the Truth in Advertising Act by Matt Wetsel over at his blog, …Until Eating Disorders are No More. He makes it easy to find your representative in Congress and how to let them know you support the bill.
- Take to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and any other social media site with the hastag #TruthInAds to help spread the word. You can even stop by The Brave Girls Alliance for toolkits, images and talking points for the campaign.
The Illusionists is a 90 minute documentary about the body as the “finest consumer object” and the pursuit of ideal beauty around the world. Or: how corporations are getting richer by making us feel insecure about the way we look.
The hard thing for most people about speaking out against society’s narrow ideals of beauty is that it can feel like you’re a fish swimming upstream in a strong current of Photoshopped bodies, fat talk, and dieting. Taking a stand can mean you’re up against some pretty powerful forces like the beauty and fashion industries, the diet and weight loss industries and even the larger television and film media that rely on funding from these sources. This pressure compounds when you’re an independent filmmaker working to expose the stories and financial benefits behind the WORLD’S beauty ideals. That’s what filmmaker, Elena Rossini is doing with her documentary The Illusionists and it’s why The Center for Eating Disorders has been a supporter of the film since it first launched via a Kickstarter campaign in 2011.
Now that the film is almost complete, Elena is swimming against that cultural current once more, and has taken to Twitter with the #AdoptTheIllusionists campaign to help the film, and its message, get the widest possible circulation. On her blog, Elena writes, “My passion for the project stems from its potential to incite activism: I strongly believe that The Illusionists can ignite important conversations about consumer culture, mass media, and the epidemic of body image dissatisfaction around the world. It only takes one person to believe in The Illusionists for the fate of the film to change. It could be a producer. An actress. A writer. An activist with the right connections. It could be you.”
The film has already caught the eye of accomplished artists and activists including Geena Davis and Stephen Fry. If YOU want to see the first 4 minutes of the film and then show your support for the film, visit Elena’s post, It Only Takes One Person or go straight to the #AdoptTheIllusionists campaign page for supportive statements that are ready-to-tweet.