Body Imperfect: Real Beauty and Anti-Eating Disorder Ads

My sister recently directed my attention to a 1998 ad campaign from The Body Shop showcasing “Ruby,” a pleasantly plump anti-Barbie, intended to challenge stereotypes of beauty.

So rather than inundate you with my feminist rantings about how the beauty industry encourages low self-esteem, poor self-image and eating disorders among women…or how over-sexualized images of girls leads to their objectification, which in turn plays an important role in gender inequities…

I will say simply: I’m loving Ruby’s rubenesque lady lumps.
But isn’t The Body Shop and more recently Dove, with their Real Beauty Campaign, in the money-making business? Aren’t they just marketing a positive-self-image-message for profit?
I don’t want to go off on an anti-capitalist rant either, but rather admit to my own self-doubts, insecurities and impossible ideals of beauty. And, more importantly, valuing other’s opinions—whether it be The Industry, The Man, or The Hubby—above my own. I’ve done my fair share of rating body parts, double triple quadruple checking myself in the mirror, or assailing the hubby with does my ass look too big in this?
Where does this overreliance on other’s acceptance come from?
I wore a rubber band around my wrist for a day, and snapped it whenever I had a critical thought about others or myself. I snapped it quite a bit a lot. A popular practice among smokers trying to quit, I too came to realize my own unpleasant addiction, an obsession with perfection.
Wanting perfection, fearing I won’t achieve it, and feeling inadequate if I can’t be perfect.  
Three dirty habits I’d like to lose. And replace with courage—courage to be imperfect. My courage campaign would feature the real women in my life—how I love them for who they are and not for their ability to meet certain criteria.
Before I place any more reliance on an industry—positive messaging or not—I’ll place more heed on my own opinions and start the revolution first from within.

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