Proud2Bme | Tips for Being a Body Image Activist

Tips for Being a Body Image Activist

By Mary Streech--Being a positive body image activist is exciting, but sometimes it's difficult to know where to start. Here are my tips to make the thought of starting a positive body image movement less scary!

1. Be an example. The first thing you have to do to start a positive body image movement is to practice what you preach. For me, that meant not only recovering from my eating disorder, but getting to a point where I was at peace with my body. I had to be able to accept and love my body before I was able to tell others how much they should love and appreciate theirs. To this day, I still believe that the most powerful tool of influence is to live by example. Demonstrating body peace IS a form of positive body image activism! If you live in peace, your happiness will radiate and you will have an influence on others without even being fully aware.

2. Make a plan. In order to create a movement, you must have a plan. I am old fashioned, and I like to draw out my plan on a piece of paper--usually on a timeline. This plan should not only have goals that you wish to accomplish, but a way in which to measure said goals. For example, a good goal would be: I would like to start a weekly body image meeting through my school where students of all ages are able to come together and talk about some of the issues of body image they face and brainstorm ways to deal with them. I would like to start this group by the end of the month, and I would like to have at least 15 members by the second meeting. Each week I will plan a particular topic to discuss with my peers such as: How to cope with the desire to excessively diet for swimsuit season, or ways in which to help a friend who is struggling to accept her body, etc. By making concrete, measurable goals, you will be able to move forward with your movement and feel accomplished!

3. Be brave. This may be one of the most difficult tasks of being a positive body image activist. You have to be brave. Body image issues and eating disorders are often misunderstood, and people say things without fully understanding the consequences of what they have said. I personally take this misconception as an opportunity. As an activist you are not only helping those who ask for help, but you are also educating those who do not understand it. Speaking out about body image is scary, and it reveals a vulnerability. Once you start speaking out about these issues in your school, you will be surprised how many people will come up to you and tell you how they relate.

I hope you find these tips helpful! If you have started a positive body image movement within your school, or have made some plans to do so, please drop us a line in the comments so we can hear all about it!

Related:

Why Body Image Activism Matter in a Big Way

Become a Successful Teen Activist: Tips for Blogging, Vlogging, Posting and Tweeting

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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.

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.