In all forms of mass media, we are exposed to narrow and artificial representations of physical beauty. Generally, one body shape is celebrated. Moreover, the celebrated appearance is artificial. Models are always wearing makeup, and images of bodies are consistently Photoshopped. Such narrow celebration of an artificial appearance creates a pressure to look a certain way, and leads to body dissatisfaction.
In order to counter mass media’s narrow celebration of physical beauty, we are launching a multimedia campaign called DefineBeauty that will celebrate people’s unique and natural physical appearances. The first form of media released by the campaign will be a photography project that will consist of two kinds of photos:
Body shot: The first kind of photo will celebrate individuals' unique bodies. Models will be photographed in underclothing.
Head shot: The second kind of photo will celebrate individuals' natural faces without makeup.
Important information for each: No Photoshop will be used on people’s physical appearances. No makeup will be worn. People will be celebrated in a non-sexualized, non-objectified way. The project is inclusive of all genders.
We view this project as a collective initiative of all those participating. Each person is choosing to celebrate his or her physical appearance exactly as it is, in order to collectively address mass media’s narrow celebration of physical beauty and promote positive body image.
Additional information: Photo-shoots will be one part of a weeklong series of events at different universities, which will also consist of an event at the beginning of the week to properly introduce and explain the project, and an event at the end of the week to reflect on the overall experience. Optional events will include a workshop on body image led by mental health professionals, as well as a workshop on the social construction of physical beauty led by academics. We will also have conversations about body image with each person photographed, and eventually use a portion of this conversation as a caption that will be attached to each person’s photo. At some point following the week, each person’s photo will be released on a monitored online platform.
If you are interested in participating in this photo project, or if you would like to be updated about other content currently being produced, then please send us an email below!