The YWCA launched Love Notes – a social media campaign – in a bid to get young women viewing their bodies for what they can do, rather than what they look like.
YWCA board member, Hilary Max (23) says the statistics around young women and how they view their bodies is sobering.
“We know having a negative body image affects self-esteem and can lead to depression and social isolation. More than 52 percent of adolescent girls begin dieting before age 14. Concerns about body image can also prevent young women from participating in physical and social activities they enjoy such as swimming, dating or even posting photos on Facebook.
“Love Notes is about helping young women move away from instinctively thinking about their ‘most beautiful’ body part and instead thinking about what body part helps them achieve, succeed, help others. Essentially what part of their body helps them to do good things!” says Ms Max.
Love Notes works by getting young women to take a photo of their favourite body part and posting it, with a caption describing why they like it, to the YWCA-generated Facebook app. They will be invited to ‘share’ and ‘like’ the campaign. Each participant will go in the draw to win a Polaroid camera.
The campaign went live on Thursday 27 June and can be found at: www.facebook.com/pages/YWCA-of-Aotearoa-New-Zealand/109017730239.
New Zealand professional track and field athlete, Sarah Cowley is Love Notes’ campaign ambassador. She commented that the campaign is vital. “I place a high value in my body through what I have achieved. My hope with this campaign is more young women learn to be proud of the many things their body can do for them,” says Ms Cowley.
Love Notes is part of a series of YWCA initiatives aimed at increasing young women’s self esteem.
YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand President, Sina Wendt-Moore says there is a compelling need for research to identify issues around young women and body image.
“A key part of YWCA’s work nationally is addressing the problem of low body confidence among young women. There is much work to be done and we particularly need up-to-date research on triggers affecting negative body image in order to create change.”
Many of the participants’ Love Notes will be showcased in a video, which will be produced once entries close.
It will be available for educators, health professionals and organisations working with young women and forms part of a suite of ‘like your body’ YWCA resources.
The campaign is open to all New Zealand young women over 13 years of age and ends on 31 July.