The other day I was cruising on Boston Magazine’s “Be Well Boston” Instagram page and I saw this headline: A new bill was just proposed in Massachusetts to push body positivity forward by incentivizing corporations for using unedited images in their advertisements.

First off, as someone from Boston, Massachusetts, I couldn’t have been more proud of my commonwealth. Secondly, as a City Planner– WOW, is all I had to say. Rarely do hear about politicians stepping outside of the realm of “business as usual” politics, let alone delve into the realm of body positivity. As one of the few plus size bloggers in Boston, you know this put the biggest smile on my face.

Lane Bryant

In the article written by Tessa Yannone (hey, girl!), she states: Representative Kay Khan proposed a new bill in the Massachusetts Legislature that will incentivize corporations that do not digitally alter models’ skin tone, skin texture, body size, or body shape in advertisements. The incentive? A tax credit of up to $10,000 for cosmetic, personal care, and apparel companies that refrain from using these digitally altered advertisements. 

Let’s give a huge kudos to Representative Kay Khan for introducing Bill H. 3892 (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3892. The bill goes on further to state, “The purpose of this section shall be to provide incentives for business to recognize the benefits of digitally unaltered advertising. Digitally altered images of human models set unattainable standards of beauty and damage the well-being of many exposed to them, leading to the development of eating disorders and poor health outcomes. The goal of this tax credit is to incentivize businesses to reduce the use of advertising with digitally manipulated images of human models in advertising campaigns.”

West Coast Ting Yellow Longsleeve Tee from Flaws of Couture

As I’ve dedicated to making May and June Mental Health Awareness Months on the blog, this bill couldn’t be more timely. When I receive Facebook messages, DM’s or emails listening to women and men talk about their struggles with body image–I see a lot of myself in them. I think about how much I allowed society to misconstrue the way I should look. Even after becoming an active member within the plus size blogging industry, I used to think I wasn’t the “right type” of plus size. I felt the need to have a flat stomach, big bust, big butt, perfect skin, etc. to fit a “standard.” Today, not so much. I am slowly understanding and accepting that there’s so much beauty in being me. Not looking like what the advertisements say I should look like…just plain ole beautiful me.

Palencia from Eloquii’s #MODELTHAT campaign

I never realized how much stress was associated with having these unrealistic body image expectations. Once upon a time, thin was in. Two decades later, Marilyn Monroe was every man’s dream. Today, well, I couldn’t even tell you what media believes we should look like. Try not to fall victim to what media is feeding you. One of my model friends says that she is booked because she’s selling a dream. She goes on further to state she has been heavily photoshopped in a few campaigns, to the point where she has battled body image issues.

The article continues, “We know from years of research that near-constant exposure to these manipulated images puts young people at grave risk of mental health issues like developing an eating disorder,” Bryn Austin, Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press release. “The good news is that there is a new trend to not conform to harmful beauty ideals, and this new legislation has an opportunity to accelerate it.”

Premme’s Luna Slip Dress

 

So how can you support Representative Kay Khan’s mission to pushing this bill forward and to spreading awareness about using realistic body images in advertising?

  1. You can go to the hearing for the bill, prepare testimony and argue why the bill is important to society. Testifying on bills is an important step to show legislators there is public support for the piece of legislation.
  2. You can lobby members of the committee and the chairperson to report the bill out favorably.
  3. Put your money where your mouth is! Brands such as Universal Standard, Lane Bryant, Eloquii, Target, Universal Standard, Premme, Feminine Funk, Flaws of Couture, Penningtons and more! These brands are known for pushing the envelope with realistic body images or have been doing so since their inception. Make sure you check them, let them know that you love the work that they are doing.
  4. Let some of your body positive activists know that you appreciate the work that they do. Shout them out on social media or write them a note. It goes a long way and truly fuels the work that they do.

It’s a cruel world out there…but don’t forget, it’s not you– it’s them.

Til next time,
Char.