Attempting to fight the strong influences of advertising and media in terms of negative body images, a new online magazine has emerged. No, it is not a fancy Vogue status magazine, but a widely read online-only magazine created by one of the common citizens of America.
Started two years ago by 26-year-old Patricia Colli, the magazine has been a great hit with an increasing number of visitors on the site. The Web site, named BeUtiful, focuses on encouraging people to genuinely be themselves and accept themselves as they are. It urges visitors, "Embrace who you are with no apologies about who you're not."
The Web site posts articles that promote healthy lifestyles and the self-acceptance. It also provides links and information at www.beutifulmagazine.com about other extraordinary campaigns and Web sites regarding body image.
Having suffered from low self-esteem caused by her negative body image, Colli began this online magazine as an attempt to stop the major effect of media's "ideals" and standards of an unrealistic "perfect." Colli told PsychologyToday.com that she was inspired by Dove's "Love Your Body" campaign, which was launched in 2004, and her ideas for the Web site commenced during her junior year of high school when she was at the peak of her low self-esteem.
She also stated that through her Web site, she tries to promote self-acceptance by overcoming eating disorders and also the acceptance of others despite their gender, race, age, sexuality or religion. Colli, who is a graphic design student, hopes to publish a print version of BeUtiful soon, which is definitely something to look forward to.
Efforts directed toward fighting off negative body images have been amplified by not only the efforts of everyday citizens, but even greater, more prominent companies. Vogue was in the news recently for its ban of "too slim and-or too young" models, and as a result, the fashion magazine received much praise and encouragement from critics. Regardless of the fame of the initiator, such acts help pave the way for a more positive society that consists of confident people leaning more greatly toward achieving a healthy lifestyle in order to actually be "in shape," instead of people starving themselves to be an abnormal and unhealthy "skinny."
Hopefully, society's distorted image of "skinny is fit" will be amended as media continue to make changes regarding what they display to the public.
Rubani Virk is a junior at Pitman High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom program.