intro: self-esteem is about self-awareness, self-confidence, self-worth, and self-acceptance. It's about respecting yourself, looking after your body and soul, and being proud of who and what you are. Throughout the ages, women's bodies have been manipulated to fit the latest fad. We've been trussed up, pumped up, corseted and bandaged. Waists have been pinched, skin bleached, ribs removed. The fat sucked out, the silicone injected in. Wouldn't you rather be measured by your individuality, thinking and lust for life? Stand up for who you really are stand up for self esteem!
what: sexism, size-ism and ageism are prejudices that constantly plague society. These prejudices are often fuelled by the images projected by cosmetic giants and glossy magazines. If bombarded by images of the 'unattainable', a sense of personal failure and suffering from low self-esteem can become very real dangers. The Body Shop's philosophy on this issue is encapsulated in “Know your mind and love your body”. It is a philosophy that encourages consumers to embrace their individuality.
The company began campaigning on self- esteem in 1995. Two years later, it launched a campaign based on ‘Ruby’, a real doll representing real women: “There are three billion women in the world who don’t look like supermodels and only eight who do”. Anita Roddick, The Body Shop’s co-founder, remembers: “Ruby was a fun idea, but she carried a serious message. She was intended to challenge stereotypes of beauty and counter the pervasive influence of the cosmetics industry, of which we understood we were a part. Perhaps more than we had even hoped, Ruby kick-started a worldwide debate about body image and self-esteem.”
how: in 1998 The Body Shop produced The Body and Self Esteem, the first publication in the ‘Full Voice’ series. Distributed worldwide, this publication aimed to raise awareness of the issue of self esteem and generate debate. Ruby went on to appear in stores in Australia, Asia, and the United States, where she captured the imaginations of consumers weary of the rail-thin heroin-chic of the beauty industry's advertising messages. But Ruby was not universally loved…
critics: in the United States, the toy company Mattel sent The Body Company a cease-and-desist order, demanding they pull the images of Ruby from American shop windows. Their reason: Ruby was making Barbie look bad, presumably by mocking the plastic twig-like bestseller. Anita Roddick – pointing out that Barbie dolls sell at a rate of two per second – considered: “It's hard to see how our Ruby could have done any meaningful damage… I was ecstatic that Mattel thought Ruby was insulting to Barbie -- the idea of one inanimate piece of molded plastic hurting another's feelings was absolutely mind-blowing”.
Then, in Hong Kong, posters of Ruby were banned on the Mass Transit Railway because authorities said she would offend passengers. Of course, the much more seriously offensive images of silicone-enhanced blondes in other ads were permitted to stay on the trains…
food for thought: while the cosmetics industry continues to hype products that claim to be magic potions and miracle cures Roddick says all those claims are lies and that cosmetics can only cleanse, polish, and protect the skin and hair. She says that the cosmetic industry capitalises on women's insecurities and then, supposedly finds scientific antidotes to counteract those insecurities. But Roddick believes it abhorrent to make such extravagant claims and says: “It is immoral to trade on fear. It is immoral constantly to make women feel dissatisfied with their bodies.”
Positive self-esteem enables people to accept how they look and take responsibility for the world they live in and to stand up for their rights. It makes good things happen. Your self-esteem is nourished by success, which motivates you to try new things, set more goals and take more action that, in turn, will increase your feelings of competence and personal pride as well as your ability to accept setbacks.