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Old 8th April 2011   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: January 2011
Posts: 155
Default NEDA PSA Contest

The idea of having students expressing size-positive sentiments is admirable. The National Eating Disorder Awareness organization likely had that very thought in mind when it recently organized a contest for girls to create public-service announcements regarding eating disorders.

This was the concept:

Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, “The idea behind the PSA competition was to give entrants a voice and ask them to create a PSA – focused on a positive, thought-provoking, creative message – asking, ‘How would you talk about it?’

Intriguingly, Whitney was one of the members of the judging panel:

Winners were selected by a NEDA Celebrity Media Judges Panel, including...Whitney Thompson, the first plus-sized winner of America’s Next Top Model

The press release includes the URLs of the various entries. To me, the most interesting is the Second Prize Winner: “Self-Esteem: Breaking the Status Quo,” by Paula Cruz. It's quite impressive, coming from an 18-year-old girl.

Cruz, 18, Bellevue, Wash., says what you see in her winning PSA is what she sees everyday—friends putting themselves down, criticizing every flaw. Self-loathing has become the norm and Paula wants to do her part to get people to change their attitudes to positive ones and see the real beauty in each of them.

The video begins with an idea that I know the Judgment of Paris has always been fond of: the "alternative reality" in which plus-size beauty is celebrated and appreciated. In this better world, the girls in the video state that they love their hips, love their arms, etc. But then the video switches to "our" reality, and shows the girls disparaging their bodies, as girls (sadly) often do, basically comparing nonexistent flaws, including a supposedly too-curvy waist.

The video poses the important question:

Why do we live in a culture where this [i.e., curve appreciation] seems strange, yet this [body disparagement] seems so normal?

Part of the reason, of course, is that the media fosters the negative discourse of the second part of the video, not the positive discourse of the first.

In my opinion, that's one of the reasons why the praise that the Judgment of Paris lavishes on curvy bodies is so important, and is more than just physical appreciation. It creates the conditions wherein women CAN think of themselves as the girls in the first part of the video do, where they admire their plus-size bodies and see themselves as gorgeous, not flawed or unattractive for being naturally full-figured.
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