“Our lives are not beauty pageants.”

-Renee Engeln

REAL PROBLEM.

70% of adolescent girls, and 45% of adolescent boys don’t like their bodies, leading to serious mental health consequences:

Body dissatisfaction is a risk factor for almost all eating disorders.

Body dissatisfaction is directly correlated to low self-esteem.

Research links body dissatisfaction to depression, isolation, and suicidal thoughts.

Body dissatisfaction is is linked to a lack of self-care including eating well, exercising and emotional awareness — if you don’t like your body, you don’t take care of it!

Body dissatisfaction is linked to risky sexual behavior — if you don’t like your body, you don’t care what happens to it!

We’ve been swimming in an appearance-obsessed culture for decades. It’s been hard to see the water get more polluted over the years with all the toxic messages we get about bodies.

These are the effects of our culture on our young girls:

  • 34% of 5-year-old girls restrain their food intake
  • 40% of girls between 5 and 9 years old wish they were thinner
  • 33% of third grade girls report that they are afraid of becoming fat
  • 28% of 5-year-old girls want their bodies to look like the women they see in movies and on TV

“There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

-Amanda Gorman

REAL SOLUTION.

Our appearance-obsessed culture has caused our body image problems. We must come together, change this culture, and solve these problems.

SHIFTING CULTURAL BELIEFS

Cultural Belief:

“Thinner is 

Better”

BE REAL Shift:

“A Personal, Healthy Ideal”

Our bodies are instruments, not ornaments.

Cultural Belief:

“Fixating on

Appearance”

BE REAL Shift:

“Focus on Taking Care of Yourself”

It’s about the process, not the results.

Cultural Belief:

“Judging People

on Appearance”

BE REAL Shift:

“Recognizing People Come in All Shapes and Sizes”

It’s about compassion, not comparison.

BE AWARE.

Education Advocacy

76% of kids who learned about body confidence felt more positive about themselves  

BODY CONFIDENT KIDS:

  • Are more likely to look after their bodies
  • Are more likely to value health over appearance
  • Have better general mental health
  • Are more likely to participate both in the classroom and in activities outside of school
  • Have improved chances of fulfilling their potential — particularly academically

BE AWARE.

Education Advocacy

76% of kids who learned about body confidence felt more positive about themselves  

BODY CONFIDENT KIDS:

  • Are more likely to look after their bodies
  • Are more likely to value health over appearance
  • Have better general mental health
  • Are more likely to participate both in the classroom and in activities outside of school
  • Have improved chances of fulfilling their potential — particularly academically

BE BOLD. 

Legislative Advocacy

BE REAL currently supports three legislative policy initiatives endorsed by STRIPED, the eating disorder prevention incubator at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way…I can’t apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to… We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful…We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.”

― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

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