Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Positive Programs to Enhance Self-Esteem: Part 2

Over the next several days, I'm going to post sections of my thesis. I had a request to see it, and I figured I might as well post it here. It's about negative body images in the media and the programs that work to combat the negativity. Because the paper was long, each post will be one major section of the paper.

Dove is conducting the most pervasive program to promote positive body images. In September 2004, Dove launched the Campaign for Real Beauty (Dove 2010). Dove discontinued using ultrathin models to opt for more realistic, healthy-looking women for their commercials. Although it has been nearly ten years from inception, the Campaign for Real Beauty continues to display healthy women in commercials featuring products such as deodorant and body lotion. The Dove website explains that every purchase of a Dove product goes toward the Dove Self-Esteem Fund that supports programs for the Campaign for Real Beauty. Using the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, Dove is able to produce television advertisements that educate the public on how marketing companies use air-brushing and computer-enhancing programs to create unrealistic ideals that bombard female adolescents (Dove 2010).

After the introduction of the Campaign for Real Beauty, Dove delved into a more active role in helping young women to realize their own beauty. Dove achieves this is by partnering with the Girl Scouts of the USA to spread the positive body message. The program targets girls between the ages of eight and seventeen and consists of self-esteem boosting workshops, culminating in a ceremony in which the girls promise to love themselves and their bodies (Dove 2010). Dove’s program, Uniquely ME!, shows girls the difference between reality and the Hollywood perception of beauty. The girls are able to see how computers can alter images so that the images no longer contain real women; workshop participants have the opportunity to see unaltered photographs of models beside the computer-enhanced images and to discern the differences between the two (Dove 2010). On the website, parents can download free self-esteem tools to continue building the self-esteem of their daughters.

National Eating Disorders Association
Girl Scouts of the USA also offered to collaborate with another group: the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). The Girl Scouts of the USA authored a piece of federal legislation, HR 4925, the Healthy Media for Youth Act, and requested that the NEDA become a partner in this initiative:
NEDA partnered with Girl Scouts of the USA, the bill author, on the initiative, which states that the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, shall review, synthesize, and conduct or support research on the role and impact that media has on diet, nutrition, exercise, body image, and eating. If passed, the bill will also authorize research on how food marketing and obesity campaigns affect girls' and boys' image, nutrition, and exercise, especially among eating-disordered youth populations. (National Eating Disorders Association 2010)
On March 24, 2010, HR 4925 has been referred to the Subcommittee on House Energy and Commerce, where it has remained for the last month. Recently passed legislation, HR 35902, should assist in furthering the efforts of the Girl Scouts and the NEDA by providing more information to the public on the nutritional contents of their meals.

Furthermore, the NEDA works hard to combat negative body images in the media in hopes of preventing young women from turning to eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia nervosa. Uniquely, the NEDA asks the public to take an active role in contacting the media to let stations, networks, and corporations know that no longer with the American public accept the use of unhealthy models in commercials and shows. The NEDA’s Media Watchdog Program, created in 1997, provides helpful links for readers, such as “What to Look for in the Media,” to assist United States citizens in making the media aware of their concerns in an educated, informed manner (National Eating Disorders Association 2010). The website boasts that “over half of the protested advertisements have been discontinued” (National Eating Disorders Association 2010).

In addition, the NEDA website contains an impressive array of educational tools for children, parents, teachers, and concerned viewers who want to make a difference in what the media portrays to young girls. The resources pages include information to target demographic groups by gender, age, and profession so that viewers may streamline their experience on the website and find information quickly and easily. Aside from general educational information, viewers may watch videos regarding eating disorders or attend webinars, interactive seminars provided through a combination of webcam usage and chat rooms (National Eating Disorders Association 2010). The NEDA is committed to providing accurate information so that people of all ages and occupations can become media literate (to understand the unrealistic images projected through the media) and improve the body image concepts presented in the media by voicing concern.

2HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, includes a section entitled “Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items at Chain Restaurants” that will force restaurants with over twenty chain establishments to provide nutritional information to patrons in an easy to understand and readily accessible format.

1 comment:

  1. Stopping in to say that I'm finding your thesis fascinating! Thanks for sharing!