After the incident where Mrs. Hall wrote an open letter to teenage girls about their bodies, the internet reacted. I even reacted. It was yet another example of boys and girls being held to different standards. Boys need to worry about being good men, earning good grades, and being good at extracurriculars. Girls need to do that, and more. They also need to worry about being thin enough, pretty enough, and just the right amount of sexy.
No wonder girls have self-esteem issues!
It was around that time that I found out about Beauty Redefined, a non-profit that was started by a pair of twins that works to improve the self esteem of girls, and goes beyond that to trying to reframe the conversation about women. They explore the differences, for example, between headlines on young men’s and young women’s magazines. Even magazines aimed toward the young crowd focus on “looking great” for girls and “finding cool hobbies” for boys.
I got a chance to talk to the founders of Beauty Redefined, Lindsay and Lexie Kite. Read on for more details!
1. Can you tell us a little about Beauty Redefined?
We are Lindsay and Lexie Kite, 28-year-old identical twins with PhDs in the study of media and body image from the University of Utah (’13). We have a passion for helping girls and women recognize and reject harmful messages about their bodies and what “beauty” means and looks like. Beauty Redefined started in 2009 as a way to share our research on media and body image with the general public while we were doing our graduate work. Today, it is a (501(c)(3) nonprofit, still run by the two of us, that works through regular speaking engagements across the country, social media (Facebook.com/beautyredefined, Twitter: @TakeBackBeauty), and our website at beautyredefined.net, to continuously share our research and continue the discussion of body image, women's potential, and media influence. Our co-authored master’s thesis and complementary doctoral work forms the basis for a one-hour visual presentation on recognizing and rejecting harmful media ideals about beauty and health, which we have presented to tens of thousands across the country since March 2009. Beauty Redefined is all about rethinking our ideas of “beautiful” and “healthy” that we’ve likely learned from for-profit media that thrives off female insecurity. Girls and women who feel OK about their bodies — meaning they aren’t “disgusted” with them like more than half of women today – take better care of themselves. With obesity and eating disorders both at epidemic levels, this point is crucial!
Image by Matt Clayton Photography