The Body Image Campaign Encouraging Women & Men To Love The Mirror

It is often considered the last bastion of body image confidence for many people: the mirror. Thanks to the many mixed messages we often receive from society, it is easy to hate the damn thing, and hate the person staring back at us. But what if there was a way to not despise looking at ourselves in the mirror? If we could magically change the way fashion, advertising and the media portrayed body image overnight, this would help a great deal.

Sadly that is rather an unrealistic thing to aspire to. Instead, we need to shut out those messages, and look within to find our worth and know that value isn’t found from comparing ourselves to a standard set by industries which couldn’t care less about us, as long as we spend money.

A new body image campaign called #LoveTheMirror is aiming to help both women and men start the new year with a fresh perspective of their beauty and individuality. The campaign is spearheaded by blogger Jes Baker, who is a favorite around these parts, and photographer Jade Beall, creator of the now-viral Beautiful Body project.

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In a blog post, Jes describes why she felt the need to create such a powerful message to her fans and readers.

“The reality of our world is that we are more likely to be told that we are “good people” than anything else. Funny, creative, intelligent, communicative, generous, maybe even extraordinary. What we are NOT told is that our bodies are perfect just the way they are. We are taught that our body is flawed, and not only is it flawed, but that the majority of our worth lies within our physical appearance. Which, of course is never “perfect enough” by societies standards. This affects our lives on a monumental level, as our bodies are the vessel we move throughout the world in,” she writes.

“Our bodies are our personal bookmarks in the world. Our bodies are magnificent houses for everything else that we are.  Our bodies are a part of us, just like our kindness, talents, and passion. Yes, we are so much more than our outer shell, but our outer shell is an integral part of our being too. This is why loving the mirror is critical for complete and total self acceptance. ”

The duo invited 29 people to the photographer’s studio and asked them why loving the mirror was important to them. Below are a selection of some of the participants as well as their responses. If any of them sound familiar, that would be the voice in your head (most likely). These are things we know we should place more importance on, but it is often hard to shut out the ever-increasing loud noise of society which tries to squash any ideas that being an individual is the right way to acceptance.

What we also love is that Jes and Jade have included men in this powerful series, because gender stereotyping hurts them too. In fact we women have a plethora of resources available to us when it comes to wanting to vent about body image woes, but for men it is seen as a sign of weakness to be open about their flaws and emotions. We need more men speaking up in favor of their kind to encourage open conversations within families and communities about an issue that affects humanity, not just one section of society.

In a similar move, NOW magazine in Toronto, Canada, have just released their ‘Love Your Body’ issue where they too wanted to kick off 2015 celebrating a more wholesome approach to body image.

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“We want to break away from the prevalence of negative New Year’s resolutions (lose weight, diet, eat less) and support feeling good about the skin you’re in,” said NOW fashion and design writer, Sabrina Maddeaux in a press release.

They photographed 13 inspiring Canadians from all different fields – activism, stage, music, fashion, comedy – who bared (almost) all for a multi-page body-positive photo spread. The pictures are compelling, tasteful semi-nudes with strategically placed props or poses to cover up private bits. NOW included all shapes, sizes, genders, sexual orientations and more in this powerful and timely issue.

The message from both NOW Toronto and the #lovethemirror campaign is loud and clear: this is the year to do away with conforming to society’s unrealistic body standards and start celebrating who you are, where you are and what you have. We all have goals, aspirations and things we want to improve about ourselves, and that is natural. But it certainly doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to love the skin we are currently in. We can’t hate ourselves to reach a goal, it has to start from a place of love.

Check out a selection of our favorite images and messages from the Love The Mirror campaign below:

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