Keeping It Real

It's really a form of self-imposed torture. Just like a person on a diet going into a donut shop to only sit there and smell the sugar, butter, and milk in the air, but not partake. You see, in my line of work, I’m privy to the fact that 80% of women admit to not liking their body, and 75% of girls feel depressed, guilty, and shameful when spending three minutes leafing through a fashion magazine. And it’s for these very reasons that I practice “magazine abstinence” because well, I like feeling good about myself.

I realize that if I do X, then Y will follow. For instance, if I thumb through a highly airbrushed magazine (especially those damn summertime body issues), then there�s a high chance I�ll regret the incredible pancakes I threw down that morning and start rethinking the cocktails I had planned with my girlfriends. So, I have a general rule of thumb that magazines and I don�t get along. Magazines are like old friends I've recently edited from my life because they weren�t very good friends and, more often than not, I end up feeling worse about myself after a not-so-friendly visit.

There are still those moments, though, when I stumble upon a fashion magazine conveniently left on the table at Starbucks. I ignore my instincts and reach for the glossy cover, allured by the promise of unflattering pictures of celebrities in bikinis. I truly believe that somehow there�s a sick nature to humans, or me at least, that feels better about myself if the imperfections of other girls are highlighted. Probably because it somehow subconsciously allows me to be flawed. Needless to say, I grabbed that magazine like a forbidden chocolate brownie and in eight minutes flat, my eyes had absorbed every single page.

The aftermath was as expected. Immediately I started comparing myself, analyzing body parts, mentally circling my imperfections with a bright red highlighter with the word "FLAWED" spelled out in all caps for dramatic effect. That�s when it dawned on me; how can magazines get away with this? I am the consumer, which means I�m practically their boss. So why as the audience, can we not demand a different product with a better message? After all, publishers just want to sell the damn things.

That’s when it dawned on me that we at I AM THAT GIRL preach about thinking for ourselves, speaking our truth, and using our voice to make ourselves and the world better. So, we decided to team up with some fellow bad-ass organizations (Miss Representation, Love Social and Spark Summit) that are also in the game of making our world better to see what we could do with a three-day campaign to inspire magazines. It’s called "Keep It Real"and we want you to join us! We're not asking the magazines to close up shop, burn copies or even encouraging readers to picket outside their headquarters. Instead, we’re just politely asking publications to include us, the real us (not the airbrushed version) in each and every issue. At the very least just to get a conversation started about self-worth every time someone opens a magazine. We really can create a win-win here.

After all, I was once told that a revolution doesn’t happen overnight, that change doesn’t occur quickly, and no war was won in a single battle. But if you have the courage, diligence, and patience to slowly continue to take baby steps in the same direction, then inevitably change is possible. We believe we can make a difference, that we are a generation of girls who can inspire ourselves and impact media to honor, celebrate, support, and encourage self-esteem. We hope, in our lifetime, to witness a society that values girls in every way possible and sends the message that our brains are more important than our bodies, our compassion more valuable than our clothes, and our hearts more precious than our hairstyles. So, join our mission, rock this world, and be THAT GIRL!

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