So, you may or may not have heard about what's been going on in Georgia.
So, I'll do my best to sum it up. An organization, which claims to be concerned about the childhood obesity rate in Georgia, has released an onslaught of negative, shaming, scare-tactic filled advertisements on billboards and in bus depots around the state. The type of advertisements they're running are distressing to say the least. If you want to see what I mean, here are some examples.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out, that if the goal is to encourage a healthier lifestyle, shame doesn't work!! Self-conscious kids are more likely to hide, play video games, and lead quiet, sedentary lives than confident kids. If we raise our kids to be confident, then maybe they won't second guess themselves if they want to try out for a sports team or start up a fun physical hobby like cycling, jogging, hooping, dancing, or martial arts. The more our kids hate their bodies and themselves, the LESS likely they are to step out and do something new and different. I was a chubby kid and then a fat adult, and I'll tell you that I didn't start leading a more active lifestyle until I began to LIKE my body. I can't say enough how important this is. So, in response to S4L's icky tactics, a number of folks in the fat acceptance and body positive communities have taken action. Here's a couple of my favourites:
Marilyn Wann (author of the book FAT!SO?) began an online counter-campaign to S4L's shaming ads by editing submitted photos of individuals to include their own "I STAND" statement meant to inspire and encourage (NOT shame). You can see the photo and statement I submitted above. You can read more about this project here. And keep an eye on new STANDards (as they have been named) via her tumblr page.
Ragen Chastain (professional level dancer and author of the popular blog Dances with Fat) began raising money for a campaign to compete with S4L. She raised the money needed, including a matching donation from More of Me to Love and will be putting up POSITIVE message billboards and advertisments to send the kids of Georgia a more body-loving message. Read more about her progress here.
I support both of these projects wholeheartedly and am so grateful to all of those involved in them for their hard work and their efforts in addressing the issue of fat shaming in Georgia.