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Join the revolution: Positive Body Image Awards 2013.

Positive body image awards
‘Join the Revolution’ creator Jessica Smith is a former Paralympic swimmer & positive body image advocate

By JESSICA SMITH

The undeniable obsession with “fitspo” & “thinspo” is a dangerous phenomenon that has swept the web for years, erupting on sites such as Tumblr and Pintrest easily accessible and viewable by impressionable people of all ages.

But as Facebook & Instagram become the forefront of our communication these days, images and the much loved ‘selfie’ that are uploaded represent so much more than just a happy-snap, the subliminal messages are becoming more obvious. Uploaded images are now the path way for instant recognition by others, the number of ‘likes’ an image receives is seen as the measurable value of worth that one places on themselves, subconsciously or consciously affecting the person in that photo. 20 or more ‘likes’ means the image is popular and in most cases affirms to the person that they are in fact ‘hot’ or ‘attractive’ and one way or another validates this in a public forum.

We are bombarded with more than 500 images a day through the media, glorifying unrealistic ideals of beauty and perfection. This overwhelming barrage leaves many of us feeling inadequate, believing that we need to change the way we look in order to be accepted within society. The closer we can get ourselves to look like the images we see in the media the closer we are to feeling accepted.

Is it any wonder that the rates of young women and men presenting with eating disorders are constantly on the rise?

We, as a society have created a generation of women and men who believe that when they look in the mirror they first need to find their faults.

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We all say that we want to see a change, and thankfully the “thinspo” epidemic in no longer a silent plague, with more and more discussions taking place that highlight the dangerous impact these images can have. But are we really doing enough?

It’s naive for us to think that by simply banning social media sites that we will therefore be ‘safe’ and not be exposed to the onslaught of propaganda.

Positive body image awards
Show your support like The Veronica’s have – tag #jointherevolution

But the capacity of such images to reach young and impressionable women and men is palpable.

So what can we do?

We need to educate each other about the impact these images are actually having, the more we talk about it the greater chance we have of understanding it.

If we continue to simply ignore it, if we continue to dismiss the seriousness of this issue then we as a society will continue to create generations of people who hate the person that they are, ultimately leading to an increase in mental illness, increasing rates of eating disorders and overall body dissatisfaction.

There is no point starting a war against social media – because we won’t win.

We can’t escape social media and the inevitable spread of such alarming images so we need to use positive reinforcement to counteract the devastating effects it is having.

“Join The Revolution” is a social media campaign created by Jessica Smith, former Paralympic Swimmer and Positive Body Image Advocate who recovered from Anorexia and Bulimia almost 5 years ago.

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Jessica created the campaign with the aim of utilising social media as a positive platform of communication when it comes to uploading photos & ‘selfies’. People get involved by simply uploading images of themselves holding the “Join The Revolution” sign, which gives them the opportunity to be involved with and support a revolution of positive change.

Positive body image awards
Layne Beachley shows her support

Last month Jessica was awarded “Emerging Leader” for 2013 at The Australian Government Positive Body Image Awards in Sydney, the category was created especially to recognise Jessica’s commitment to the cause. “Join The Revolution” has already attracted thousands of followers from Australia & around the world including “The Veronica’s”, Layne Beachley, Kirk Pengilly, Chris Bath, Kurt Fearnley, and countless other every day people who simply want to support. “Join The Revolution” is supported by The Butterfly Foundation (Australia’s largest not for profit organisation supporting those with Eating Disorders & their loved ones).

Jessica wants everyone single Australian to upload their own image to show their support, because we are all impacted by negative body image, we all have those moments of self doubt – but together we can make a change, together we can help create future generations of people who are happy with their body…

Join The Revolution – Stop Hating You Body.

Upload your images today and tag #jointherevolution

To find out more about Jessica you can visit her website www.jessicasmith.com.au or Facebook page www.facebook.com/jessicasmith27

For information about the Positive Body Image Awards visit the website http://www.youth.gov.au/sites/youth/bodyimage/awards/pages/default.

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