Sunday, October 12, 2008

Love Your Body Day

By Chloe Angyal

This Wednesday, October 15th, is Love Your Body Day. LYBD is an initiative of the Now Foundation, "to help raise awareness about women's health, body image and self-esteem. Since 1997, Love Your Body has given girls and women the tools and the encouragement to just say no to the air-brushed, cookie cutter images that Hollywood and Madison Avenue are trying to sell."

For the past few years, the Now Foundation has run a poster competition for LYBD, and I’ve included some of my favourites here. I hope they make you as happy as they make me.

There was a time when I thought that all that “beauty comes from within” stuff was a bunch of crap. But as I’ve gotten older (and ever so slightly wiser), I’ve come to believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that being pretty just doesn’t mean that much in this world.

Take a moment to think about all the people you love, and you’ll realize that it’s not their looks that make you want to have them in your life. It’s their kindness and their humour and the way they make your world a better place. They might be ugly. They might be stunning. The point is, it doesn’t matter whether they’re stunning, ugly, or somewhere in the middle, because you love them for reasons that have nothing to do with looks.

Of course, physical beauty never goes astray – we’re all biologically driven to pass on our genes, and we’re all culturally trained to find some things attractive and other things unattractive. But when it comes to spending time with people, rather than just mating with them, personality is so crucial.

It’s easy to forget this. I do it myself sometimes, and spend way too much time, energy and effort on my appearance, rather than on my personality and intellect. And whenever I find myself doing that, I think about the two index cards that are stuck on my wall.

They’re from a campaign the Eating Concerns Advisers ran last year, where we asked people on campus to anonymously write down what they found beautiful. Both of mine were written by straight guys, but we had a whole mix of people contribute cards. These two say:

Beauty is… When a smart girl makes a knockout comment in precept.
Beauty is… Confidence. There are not so great looking girls who are confident and great to hang out with, but there are great looking girls with no confidence who just bug the fuck out of you.

These cards make me smile, and in a world where it’s easy to forget, they remind me what’s really important in life, what people are really attracted to and what makes us really, truly beautiful.


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