The most compelling thing about BodyLove is that it is about MUCH more than THE BODY. These days, accepting and loving our body is one of the most important and radical things we can each do to affect social, spiritual and even political change.
As I have begun to write, speak and venture down the path of women's empowerment and gender equality, I have come across a number of incredible organizations that are working in this particular arena of social change that anyone interested in BodyLove should know about.
There is in fact A LOT going on in our country and around the world in effort to move gender equality forward. Some of the the most impactful change is coming from organizations which focus their efforts on empowering girls and women with access to education and information on reproductive rights.
In solidarity with these efforts, there are TWO incredible organizations that I imagine our BodyLove Community will be excited to learn about and perhaps get in involved with in some way:
The first is HeForShe - an organization dedicated spearheading a solidarity movement for Gender Equality. HeForShe (www.heforshe.org) is a program of UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The organization was established to accelerate the progress of meeting the needs of girls and women worldwide.
The coolest part about HeForShe is the strong messaging about the participation of men in the Gender Equality movement. In fact, I'd say that much of their platform stands on the basis that the active participation of men is as important to this movement as women's. This organization helps create a UNITING force rather than a divisive one that points fingers. The time for blaming either gender for gender inequality is long gone my friends - Nothing will be more powerful than the unification of men and women in achieving Gender Equality.
This idea ties in so well with what The BodyLove Project is all about, specifically regarding the way gender norms are distorted through hyper-sexualization of women in the media and the obsessive emphasis on thinness.
...Which offers a perfect segue to our second highlighted organization: The NOW Foundation.
The National Organization for Women Foundation (NOW Foundation) is devoted to achieving full equality for women through education and litigation. The Foundation is allied with the National Organization for Women, the largest feminist activist organization in the US with hundreds of affiliates across the country. But don't let this verbiage deter you; if "feminism" is a highly charged word for you, understand that NOW works on fundamental rights for women- including reproductive rights, employment issues, sexual harassment and education. In other words, constitutional guarantee of equal rights under the law. The Basics Y'all.
I actually found out about NOW via an Instagram account of one of the many Curve Models that I follow, and my attention was captured by a link to a page on the NOW website featuring filmed interviews which included Crystal Renn, a Curve Model who I have written about in on my personal blog site at www.chantalpeterson.com. Renn, who has been through the gamut in the modeling world, from near-death anorexia to a thriving plus-size modeling career, talks about her Body Love journey and speaks fearlessly about size diversity and the insanity of the fashion industry.
Her interview is part of the Love Your Body campaign that NOW initiated to challenge the message that a woman's value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current (narrow, unrealistic and often hazardous!) beauty standards.
To learn more about NOW's extensive programs and initiatives, visit their website at www.now.org
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