Proud2Bme | Sparking Your Fire: Inspiration & Activism at the Proud2Bme Summit

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Sparking Your Fire: Inspiration & Activism at the Proud2Bme Summit

On October 13th, we hosted the Proud2Bme summit. The day was filled with honest talk and lots of ideas for how young people can be body image activists and changemakers. 

Keynote speaker Julia Bluhm talked about how her petition to Seventeen magazine was a way for her to turn her anger at the media into positive action:

"Keeping all of your unhappiness to yourself can lead to depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and self-harm. It’s like taking that little spark of fire, swallowing it, hiding it inside your stomach, and burning your insides. The second option, number two, is what I hope I’ll inspire all of you to try. You take that spark, and instead of burning your insides, you blow it out of yourself like a dragon. You take all that anger and do something with it… You tell people about it, and fight to make it right. You start a petition, write a blog, or give a speech. You use the awesome skills that you have to help make your life better, and tons of other people’s lives better, too."

Wow. Ready to start a revolution?

Next, a panel of media insiders shared their experiences and tips for how to keep a healthy perspective on all the toxic messages we get about food, weight, and body image. Moderated by HuffPost Teen editor Carolyn Gregoire, the discussion covered a lot of ground:

Fashion blogger Gabi Gregg proved that style comes in all sizes.

Professional retoucher Roy Cui revealed how the "perfect" images we see in magazines are manufactured (and totally, completely unattainable for actual humans).

Model Sara Ziff echoed that sentiment, sharing a story about how she was once hired to appear in a skincare commercial when she struggled with acne. They just "fixed" the final image. She said that images can be so drastically altered that even her own mother didn't recognize her when she appeared on a billboard ("She walked right by it!")

Writer Lindy West talked about she came to accept her body and let go of the idea that weight loss would make her happier. 

After the panel, Roy Cui gave a demo of how retouching really works, walking summit attendees through his work. Attendees also got to participate in activities like the Body Collage Project, the Photobooth of Change and the Proud2Bme Compliment Wall

We closed with a special performance from Jenni Schaefer, who shared her personal story of recovery from her eating disorder and sang "It's Okay to be Happy," a song about letting go of the pressure to live up to all the "shoulds" and embrace the beauty of the now--a perfect message to round out the day. 

A special thanks to summit sponsors Paige Denim, Publix Supermarkets, Inc. and SYKES Enterprises, Inc.


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About Us

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.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.