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From Texas to New York, viral campaigns tackle unrealistic beauty standards

A grassroots campaign in New York is providing the latest backlash to what many perceive to be unrealistic female beauty standards.

‘#MyBodyDoes’, which has been steadily gathering pace in the US metropolis, has seen advocates for positive self-image posting manifesto stickers around the city to encourage women to love their natural shape.

Images of the stickers have attracted global online attention. Inscribed with messages such as ‘My body is a source of joy’ and ‘I am thankful for all that my body does’, the campaign’s ‘affirmation stickers’ have popped up everywhere from lampposts to billboard ads for cosmetic surgery. Fans can purchase the stickers or download and create their own on the campaign’s website

Founded by Jess Andersen and Ashley Simon, the movement aims to “celebrate the profound uniqueness & inherent value of all bodies” and “nourish self-compassion and bring nuance to the dialogue about body image and wellness.” 

#MyBodyDoes is the latest contributor to the growing trend of social campaigns, whether implemented on the ground or played out via social media, to respond to the issue of socially imposed beauty standards. Earlier this month Pax Jones, a 21-year-old photographer in Texas, hit the headlines when her ‘Unfair and Lovely’ photo series examining the discrimination faced by women of South Asian descent went viral. The concept, whose name references a Thai skin bleaching product called Fair and Lovely, became a hashtagged movement celebrating dark-skinned women and has garnered almost thousands of Instagram contributions and followers from all over the world.

Additional grassroots campaigns to have seen success recently include ‘Thigh Reading’, which saw contributors post photos of their stretch marks to social media, and ‘Love Your Lines’, which encouraged women to embrace their marks as a positive beauty attribute. Last summer also saw memorable widespread furore over a controversial campaign by a weight loss supplement brand, which saw billboards asking the question “Are you beach body ready?” graffitied and defaced.

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