Proud2Bme | Body Image Around the World: A Semester at Sea, Part 1

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Body Image Around the World: A Semester at Sea, Part 1

By Calli Zarpas--I’m going to be writing a Proud2Bme series on body image around the world as I participate in a Semester at Sea. Usually, I’d be starting the fall at Virginia Tech, but instead, I have started my school year on an 800-person cruise ship in Hamburg, Germany.

This ship is going to take me and 600 other college students, professors and crew around the world. We will be visiting Greece, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Senegal, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica before we finish in San Diego, California.

In order to add more meaning to this journey, I’m going to observe the “perfect” body in each country. Because every body is beautiful and deserves to be valued equally, I don’t think there is such thing as the “perfect” body. If this “perfect” body is the same around the world, I want to discuss the implications of that. If it’s different, why?

I’m going to observe messages about bodies in magazines, billboards and other advertisements. Advertisers tend to use the models they find the most appealing to sell the most products, so hopefully each country’s ideal body image will be evident through their advertisements.

Every few ports, I’ll make a blog post to discuss my findings. From this project, I’m hoping to show people that the ideal body image is something that is created and manipulated by the media and doesn’t actually represent the healthy or average body image, but rather an impossible standard. This standard leads people to believe they need to look a certain way, when in reality, being healthy and happy should be the goal.

I’ll also talk about the way this trip has changed the way I view my own body. I am far from perfect when it comes to being happy with my body. I have bad days where it seems impossible to love the way I look, but I also have good days where I know I’m so much more than my body and what people think of it.

My goal is to eventually have way more good days than bad days and to help anyone following me around the world do the same. I’m so excited to be taking this journey with you all and I’m really happy to be going around the world with the Proud2Bme community.

See you later!

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

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