SPARK Change. Join the Movement
SPARK is a girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media. They are collaborating with hundreds of girls 13-22 and more than 60 national organizations to reject the commodified sexualized images of girls in the media and support the development of girls’ healthy sexuality and self-esteem.
I love this article on their site, that I want to share with you.
By Ness Fraser
A combination of turning 21 and becoming interested in working with adolescents has inspired me to write this post. I often wonder what I would say if I had the chance to speak to myself of a decade ago. Here are a few things I feel are important:
Dear 11-year-old me,
I’m sorry it’s been so long. I’m writing to you from the other side of the decade, as a 21-year-old young woman. I don’t want to give too much away — what is life if it isn’t a mystery? — but you’re on the cusp of some big things, and I know that you can feel it. I’m hear to promise you that it’ll be okay. And maybe give you a few pieces of insight that will make the next ten years a little bit easier.
In the 7th grade, you’ll hear for the first time that you’re imperfect, disgusting, and that you need to change you body in order for people to like you. Don’t believe it. Don’t let this fester inside of you, because it is poison. In an effort to change yourself, you will try starve off the love-handles and belly, go on numerous secret diets, and spend far too much time hating yourself. I need to tell you that you never reach what you think of now as “skinny”. But I do want you to know that one day you’ll get to this amazing place where you love your body without feeling that it needs to be changed.
When your aunt compliments you on losing weight after going two weeks with little food because you’re in a bad place emotionally, remember that your mind is more important than your body. Try not to feel like losing weight is an accomplishment. When your boyfriend tells you how to wear your hair, I want you to dump him and wear your hair however you want. When the TV tells you you’re not good enough, I want you to change the channel and eat that brownie anyway.
I know you worry that you’ll never be loved, but I promise you that you will grow up to be loved by many people, to experience amazing things, to grow into someone you’re proud of — and you’ll do it all without having to change your body into something it doesn’t want to be.
Please be gentle with yourself. Remember that you’re still learning, and it’s okay to make mistakes. And you will most definitely make mistakes. Learn how to apologize and mean it, learn how to forgive yourself. I’m still working on that one myself, but maybe if you get a head start you’ll get there sooner.
I forget sometimes what it was like to be you and look into the world. What it was like to have so much life ahead of you and feel like it’s going to take forever to live it. But I promise you it’ll go by quickly. You live from one event to the next, with a lot of wishing and dreaming in between. Tell the people who love you that you love them back; let them know their hard work is appreciated — they won’t be around forever.
More than anything, just take your time. Before you know it, you’ll be me — grown up, working, and paying bills and trying to figure out how to be an adult. I don’t want to say the problems you face now won’t matter, but when you face a mountain you feel is too hard to climb, climb it anyways and see what happens. You never know.
This article by Ness is real and honest, I love it. Pay attention to how you are buying into the media. Don’t let it dictate how you feel about yourself. Check in with yourself, you know what’s good for your body and if you feel you have an eating disorder seek help.
Check out this petition started by SPARKteam girl activist Julia Bluhm. This fab 14 year old is calling out Seventeen Magazine on their overwhelming usage of photoshop. Julia is asking the magazine to commit to one photoshop free spread per month to celebrate real girls, because we all want to see regular girls that look like us in a magazine that’s supposed to be for us.
I signed it and know it is making a difference, please check it out and as always,
Keep Loving Yourself, Debra