By BodyMatters therapist Sarah McMahon
Have you ever read the universal declaration of human rights? If you haven’t, I would encourage you to. This is a document that was adopted by the United Nations in the aftermath of World War II setting out the basic rights & freedoms that apply to all people of all backgrounds. The principles of dignity, equality, mutual respect & fairness underpin the declaration. One thing that strikes me when I read the declaration is the notion that all humans are entitled to freedom to be themselves & to feel safe. But is that what we actually experience?
In todays time it is not political unrest that threatens our basic human rights. It is the industries that profit at any cost by taking away our freedom to be ourselves & to feel safe in our own skin. At BodyMatters, we are no strangers to this, particularly in the context of dieting: we see the causalities of the dieting industry every day: disordered eating, disordered appetites, wasted money and broken spirits. And it is not just the diet industry who is responsible for selling us lies & making us feel discontent & disconnected with our bodies. It is the beauty industry. The health industry. The food industry. The fitness industry. The pharmaceutical industry. The fashion industry.
Only once we stand back and reflect on what is occurring is it clear that this is not just an issue of social justice- but of one of human rights. We all have the right to feel safe in our own bodies at any shape, any size, any appearance. But so many people don’t. Not because of a tangible threat to safety but because of the drip drip drip effect of industry driven messages that tell us we simply are not good enough.
But the point is we are good enough. It has nothing to do with whether we can sculpt our appearance to meet the current trend of how we “should” look, or weigh a certain amount on the scales. As humans we have a right to feel dignified, equal & respected simply because we are human beings. This is a birthright- not something we have to earn.
The standard you walk past is the standard you set- and so we invite you to take a stand against those merchants of body hatred who make us feel that our bodies- that we- are not OK.
You are not alone in this battle. Grassroots activist group Endangered Bodies has exciting local campaigns all over the world, all making a difference. Local campaigns such as “The Model Meter” in Buenos Aires & New York’s “Join The Resistance: Love Your Body” sticker campaign. Local campaigns target specific problems that local communities experience. Endangered Bodies also embarks on global campaigns combining with other revolutionists including Brave Girls Want, who are soon to bombard Times Square with messages about what girls actually do want to see in the media.
We invite you to be a part of Endangered Bodies Australia. This movement is building momentum and we are eager to connect like-minded people who also want to bring saliency to this issue in Australia. The last week has seen many more people join Endangered Bodies Australia, thanks to Susie Orbach’s speaking tour around the country. Susie really has pioneered thought on these issues, and we recommend you reading her books if you haven’t.
If you feel compelled to do so, please consider our call to action!!
- Like Endangered Bodies Australia’s facebook page
- Send Endangered Bodies a private message to indicate you are interested in being involved
- Watch this space: we will organize an opportunity for everyone to meet in the next couple of weeks via the facebook page!
Looking forward to hearing from you!