One of my favourite posts on this blog has been quoted on this poster that is going to be put in all secondary schools in the greater Shepparton region of Victoria, Australia. Initiated, designed and distributed by REAL magazine, the poster, in their words, "exposes the truths of digital manipulation, shares experiences, challenges and successes of young women, empowers readers to respect their bodies and minds and aims to inspire girls to achieve their potential".
I have so much admiration for the REAL team, and the philosophy behind the magazine. For years I have bemoaned the sad reality that a lot of magazines in the marketplace do very little to help vulnerable young people and their self esteem. I'm glad things seem to be slowly changing, with the use of "real women" in ad campaigns and photo shoots, and the Body Image Advsiory Group in Australia is doing great work too, which I applaud. The world needs more intelligent and empathetic media, print or otherwise, that encourages young people to embrace life and who they are instead of feeling pressured to live up to impossible physical standards. Communicating with young people about self esteem and empowerment issues is something I am very passionate about so I'm thrilled to be involved in this!
The quote they've used from my post is:
There is no such thing as "normal". We all come in different shapes and sizes. Everyone's body is different. If both of your parents are tall, well built people, then chances are, that's what you are too - and you must accept that. But the only thing that really matters is what you think of yourself.
The whole post, edited and modified, will also appear as an article in REAL in the near future, which is very exciting! When I first wrote that post, I wanted to get it out there where young people could read it and hopefully be helped by it. It took me over four years to find it a home - but better late than never, as they say! I know that being a teenager can be a very isolating experience, and there are some things that you just can't or don't want to talk to your parents or friends about, so I hope my words will be the equivalent of a virtual arm around young shoulders and saying "you're ok, more than ok, just as you are."
Thank you Erin and the REAL team for including me in the poster!
Let me know if you see it around anywhere :)