In order to change the view of body image to a more positive and accepting one, we need to involve people of power, the stakeholders, who play a huge role in making the possibilities a reality. The best way to engage the general public and stimulate the conversation about what beauty really is and what beauty looks like is to continue with ads like those of the Dove Real Beauty Campaign. If men, women and children see models of all shapes and sizes in magazines and other advertisements, their views of beauty will expand. Seeing different types of bodies, ages and looks will put less pressure on all people to look a certain way or have a certain type of body. At this time, France is the only country that has a law stating that models with a BMI under 18 can’t be used in advertising campaigns. If other countries can put laws together making similar claims that would be a very effective way to start changing the advertising industry and how they portray models. Providing more health education in schools could also help children and teens understand that it’s better to be healthy than skinny, and that not all body types are the same. Spending more time teaching children how to raise their self-esteem and have positive body images could have a significant impact. As the Dove campaign has begun to do, people should also be educated on what work goes into the ads so they know that the finished product isn’t even a “real person” but the product of many careful alterations.
Efforts are currently made by individual stakeholders or agents such as Dove and Mrs. Michelle Obama who not only acknowledge there is a problem with the standard idealized notion of beauty and self-image but they also actively set out campaigns that inform the society and support those vulnerable by these shallow notions such as young women. However, not everyone can influence or set out to target a large number of audience but we could each start small something as simple as conversing with a neighbor or a friend can initiate change! As Peter Block puts it many small transformative encounters are capable of eventually generating a mass chain of effective transformations. Therefore, this may be complex not to mention frustrating to deal with but we must keep in mind these normalized images of beauty our society holds on have been constructed for decades so in order to reverse the process it would take time.
Certainly as leaders we need to be patient and continue to advocate for things that matter in our communities even if they seem like a long shot! Let the following quote by Johns Maxwell resonate in your head, as you venture on this self image revolution with us, “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” On small scale we could adjust the sails by informing ourselves foremost and then others, as cliche as this may sound knowledge is truly power, and no matter how deficient our media may be in informing us, if we take the time to investigate and seek to understand on our own you will not fall victim to the misleading information that is out there. Our work here with this magazine is an example of a small scale initiative that will work to inform people in our small community. Each individual whom we get into contact will have a new perspective or at least be aware of the subconscious concepts we are fed on a daily basis and from there be able to form their own perspective. Everyone is a leader in their own capacity because leadership is not about power, it is not about who is incharge or who is right. Leadership is about coming together as a community and sharing meaningful gifts with one another that bring out the best in each of us. The next time you feel like this is bigger than you or you feel that you just can not do enough as an individual remember it took individuals to change history and get us where we are so you never know what the littlest contributions or efforts can do until you actually do them!