Drs. Lindsay and Lexie Kite are sisters who jointly earned PhDs in their effort to take back beauty for females everywhere. On January 29, they presented to a packed audience at Utah Valley University as part of the Utah Women and Leadership Project (UWLP) Speaker & Dialogue Series. Here are a few takeaways:
Women are more than just bodies! Yet the messages we’re bombarded with in the media tell us differently. Digital manipulation of celebrities, vast amounts of advertising for cosmetic surgeries, and unrealistic ideals being flaunted in the entertainment industry all give a false impression of women. Objectification – the idea that women are to be looked at rather than intrinsically valued – can lead to low self-esteem, poor dating relationships, anxiety and depression, and eating disorders. The trends over the past decade are worrisome because these negative consequences are on the rise.
In order to have a positive body image, women need to see more and to be more. This starts with realizing and appreciating that our bodies are used for worthwhile purposes and to overcome difficult things. Think of all the things your body enables you to do and become. Because of cultural conditioning, this might be easier said than done. We need to experience “disruptives” or changes in the way we see our own body. Sometimes a crisis can be the impetus for this change.
Women can achieve a healthy body image through:
1) Mental might – Criticize images in the media, not ourselves.
2) Physical fortitude – Do things that help you appreciate your body as an instrument for good not as an ornament. Swim, run, dance, sew, cook, read… do something you love and realize the things you can do.
3) Spiritual strength – Quiet time like meditation or prayer, spending time in nature , or otherwise developing spiritual strength can bring balance and perspective.
4) Social skillfulness – Compliment others more on characteristics and skills than on appearance and encourage others to do the same. Share the Beauty Redefined message with others, knowing that women who encourage each other become more powerful.
Women and girls, you have so much to offer, and you are worthy of love just the way you are!