On June 3rd, 2016, Calabasas High School had the incredible opportunity to hear Katie H. Willcox, founder of Healthy is the New Skinny give a presentation on body image and media manipulation! It was not easy getting the event together, but I am happy to say that the event was a major success. I wanted to bring this message to my high school because I know from experience how far reaching and manipulative the beauty ideal is, and the negative effects it has on both men and women. Everyday, I hear my peers drop subtle comments about how conscious they are of their bodies. It's truly a playing field for judgment and overall comparison between their friends and peers. No one is exempt from media manipulation because it's everywhere and a great portion of it is subconscious. This is why we now see children making youtube videos asking the world if they're pretty or ugly. This is why we still have people covering up their fat shaming with faux health concerns. THIS is why we all need to open our eyes to what we're being sold, and what, whether product or idea, we're buying into.
I came across Healthy is the New Skinny two years ago through a friend who knew I was struggling with my eating disorder. In my heart I'd look at a post and go, "Yes! That's amazing!" However, I never knew how to apply anything I came across. At that point I was too steeped in my disordered thinking to imagine a way out. It wasn't until I entered treatment, scraping away every painful layer of psychological scars, self hate, and low self esteem that had engrossed me over the course of nearly 5 years that I truly began to endeavor to practice what I preach. No, self love and body positivity are not just mantras to be forgotten in the next few years. This is real, and this is wonderful. It is time to not only extend the conversation of health to the physical, but the mental and emotional as well. We have the potential to live a life that is not driven by comparison and the superficial. The media does not tell you that you are good enough as you or that your worthiness as a person is not dependent on your pant size. But I will. Healthy is the New Skinny will. Countless others who know the truth will. I hope you will tell yourself that as well. Part of bringing Healthy is the New Skinny's message to my school included extending the invitation to the age group of people that are arguably most vulnerable to these rigid expectations. We are all in this together. We can all learn how to truly appreciate ourselves and recognize our true potential. You are incredible. And I know that we can truly make this world a better place.
For daily inspiration, great apparel, and wonderful opportunities to connect with people, follow @healthyisthenewskinny and @katiehwillcox on IG.
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Photo: In order from left to right: Lily Ardalan, Eden Elkayam, Michaela Williams, Rachel Nelson. Photo taken by Aya McGlothlin