Proud2Bme | Truth in Advertising: Sticks & Stones. Words & Images.

Truth in Advertising: Sticks & Stones. Words & Images.

By Shadi Smith--"You're fat!" "She's way to big to be wearing that!" "You will never get a boyfriend if you look like that!" "Talk to me when you have lost 30 pounds!"

All of these phrases have been either said to my face or behind my back.

It all started when I was in 7th grade. At lunch one day, my friends and I went into the bathroom and they were looking at themselves, fixing their hair or their make-up for the boys in our grade. I looked at my friends and then back at myself. It was that moment right there when I saw myself as fat. Being in 7th grade I should not have been worrying about what I looked like, let alone wearing make-up for boys in my grade. But I felt that pressure because I was trying to keep up with my friends and the media images--all were sending the message that I needed to be thin. I am half-Persian and half-black, and both sides of my family love to eat.

I try not to let the pressure get the best of me, but it is hard when everywhere I look, I'm getting the message that I should look a different way. Is the only way to be considered "hot" to look like a Victoria's Secret model? Does this mean I have to remove a bone from my body to achieve this look? Although I like to consider myself a strong person and I was raised by strong women who always told me "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words would never hurt," it turns out that words DO hurt.
The images that we see today in magazines are altered so much that the people in those images don't actually look like that in real life. But many people are not aware that the images that we see are so altered. I wasn't aware of it myself until recently. I thought I had to look like those women that I saw in order to have boyfriend or simply feel good about the body I was in.

There are many women out there who can relate to me and need to understand that stick thin is not the only way to be beautiful. It's about how you feel and what makes you happy. That's what is beautiful. Whether you are fat, skinny or medium-sized, what matters most is what's inside. That's where true beauty comes from.

It's important for women to understand how images are altered, but men need to know this as well. My whole life, I have been trying to shape my body to what men like. In reality, my  body is perfectly fine. Men need to know that the images they see are not what most women's bodies look like.

I want my friends, both male and female, to get the true meaning of how the images we see are altered. 

What can you do RIGHT NOW?

1. Take it to Twitter. Use the #TruthinAds hashtag to share your support of healthier, more realistic media!

2. Tell your members of Congress that this issue matters to you. Ask them to join the National Eating Disorders Awareness Caucus. These lawmakers will be working to support healthier media and eating disorder awareness at a federal level.

About this blogger: Shadi Smith is twenty years old and currently a second year student at Santa Monica City college studying early education.

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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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