Proud2Bme | What's Real? : My Body Image Activism Journey

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What's Real? : My Body Image Activism Journey

By Jessica Bermudez--Makeup has always played a huge part in my life. I always thought, ‘If I look good, then I’ll feel good!’ and in my mind, makeup made me look good.  If makeup isn’t on my face, the sunglasses stay on inside the market or wherever I plan to go that day.  However, I grew up as a Tomboy playing in the dirt of softball fields with my mother saying “Jessica, fix yourself up and put some lip gloss on.”

In addition to my mother’s suggestions, I grew up with dolls, magazines, and the iPhone.  Let’s face it.  The iPhone is a whole new world.  I walk through campus and it seems as if everyone has their noses buried in their phones.  It is just simply part of our culture now. There are tons of messages being thrown at me every single day from just my iPhone!  It is as if there is a media cloud hovering over my head at all times.  There are tons of women on social media that have my “ideal” body shape and their makeup looks flawless.  Businesses are constantly trying to capture my attention to sell me products, so they put their products on beautiful women and Photoshop them to look even more “perfect”.

The Proud2BMe Media Literacy Toolkit has definitely shown me how to deconstruct messages to what is real and what is not real.  Now, I have definitely realized that these women did not simply wake up that way. The angle in which the picture was taken was on purpose and photoshop was most likely used to send out that particular message to a specific audience.

When I flip through magazines, I notice that there are images after images that are photoshopped! I remember being little and thinking I want to look like her! I know now that the number one thing to do is to be aware. It is important to be aware of who is sending the message, what the message contains, and who their intended audience is.

While working with Proud2BMe On Campus, I have learned that I cannot compare myself to an unrealistic body. The companies that advertise women with my “ideal” body are not going to state, “This woman was photoshopped” or “Don’t compare yourself with this woman. You are beautiful in your own way.” My body and face will never look like the model in the magazine and the model will never look like me and that’s the beauty of it! 

During NEDAwareness Week at California State University, Northridge, I was handing out cards to students that said, “Today is a beautiful day because of you.”  When I handed them to students, I would usually get a smile and a “Thank you” and that little gesture not only lightened my mood, but I also felt like I had brought that person’s spirit up.

The 1,000 “Tear off a Compliment” flyers that were posted all over campus were a great experience, as well. It was neat to see compliments being torn off day by day.  These types of projects have boosted my self-esteem and confidence to a level that I thought I would never see in my life.  I hope other students from my campus and other campuses nationwide can participate to spread positive body image and eliminate eating disorders because not only are they helping others, they are also helping themselves.

About this blogger: Jessica is in her second semester at California State University Northridge (CSUN), majoring in journalism.  She is a member of CSUN's Proud2BMe On Campus Initiative and can be found discussing her activism on campus here. You can follow Proud2BMe CSUN on instagram at @proud2bme_csun.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Boyer

For more on body image activism: 

Starting from Scratch: Temple University Activism

Student Activism: UC Davis Part One

Student Activism: UC Davis Part Two

The Selfie Project

Facebook discussion

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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.