miércoles, junio 20, 2007

Adolescentes y empoderamiento: Dressing Room project

Estimados amigos, en esta ocasión les comparto un artículo que hace referencia a los problemas de salud que derivan de la imagen mostrada por los medios en los jóvenes que están sufriendo problemas de alimentación. El texto hace referencia al uso de la Educación en medios como vía para la solución. El proyecto denominado Dressing Room fue creado por Mimi Kates, diretora del Emerging Women Projects, una ONG que trabaja sobre el empoderamiento de las adolescentes ante la imagen de belleza y culto al cuerpo que promueven los medios de comunicación. He aquí el artículo completo publicado por Rudd Sound bites, del Centro Rudd para las políticas alimenticias y la obesidad. Si les interesa saber más pueden visitar el sitio: http://ruddsoundbites.typepad.com/rudd_sound_bites/2007/06/this_month_in_w.html

This Month in Weight Bias

by Rebecca Puhl

Lately there has been a flood of stories in the news pertaining to weight bias. I recently read an article about a group of female flight attendants in India who were grounded from the national airline for being overweight. A year ago, Indian Airlines introduced strict weight guidelines for its flight crew, and the Indian Court has ruled in favor of the airline.

Another news story out of the UK reported a recent survey that found 7 in 10 employers associate an overweight employee with laziness and lack of self control.

A third disturbing article came to my attention last week about a gym-owner named Michael Karolchyk in Denver who wears clothing saying “No Chubbies” and who throws cupcakes at the “chubbies” who exercise in his facility, called the “Anti-Gym”. Among many extreme practices, his gym tracks how members are doing by assigning them to the Dean's List, Jimmy Dean's Sausage List, or the Fatso List. He also provides a private room with a hot tub and sauna that is off-limits to men with more than 11 percent body fat and women with more than 16 percent body fat.

When reading stories like this, it’s easy to feel frustrated and pessimistic about efforts to combat weight bias. This form of bias is so pervasive in our culture (and others!), and shifting societal attitudes sometimes seems like a daunting task in the face of so much stigma.

But then, every so often, I come across something in the media to remind me that positive changes are taking place. These efforts may be scattered, and they may seem like small steps, but they’re headed in the right direction. As one example, I recently learned about the Dressing Room Project. This program was launched by Mimi Kates, founder and director of Emerging Women Projects, a non profit organization for teen girls' empowerment. Ms. Kates was concerned about the unrealistic and unhealthy ideals of female beauty perpetuated by the media, and the negative effects they were having on girls’ self-esteem and body image. In response, she created workshops for teen girls which involved having them design affirming and positive messages for themselves and other women to post on dressing room mirrors. Messages like “Worry about the size of your heart, not the size of your body,” or “Be happy that you are your unique self” have become popular slogans on t-shirts, hats, bags, mugs, bumper stickers, and dressing room stickers. The project has been called a “girl-powered rebellion to free girls and women from the bonds of media-imposed standards of beauty”.

In addition to promoting media literacy and preventing unhealthy attitudes about eating and weight, this project is initiating a social movement to change cultural attitudes towards beauty and weight. That’s certainly something to smile about.

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