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National NOW Times >> Fall, 2001 >> Article

2001 Love Your Body Day

by Helen Lagger, NOW Foundation Intern

This year's Love Your Body Day, sponsored by the National Organization for Women Foundation, will take place Wednesday, September 19, 2001. Once again we will use Love Your Body Day events to speak out against ads and images of women that are offensive, harmful, dangerous and disrespectful and to raise awareness about issues of women's health, body image and self esteem. Through actions and events across the country, we will speak out against the tactics of the tobacco, fashion and diet industries which constantly create unreachable beauty standards to pressure and manipulate women and girls to buy their products and smoke their cigarettes.

Exploiting Our Health, Our Bodies and Even the Feminist Movement

Half of all women who smoke will die from tobacco-related causes. Since the 1980s more women have died each year from lung cancer than from breast cancer. Yet the tobacco industry, by producing television commercials about their philanthropic efforts, attempts to divert attention from its real business which kills thousands each year. Even more dangerous is the practice of advertisements that target children. It is widely agreed that the younger people start smoking cigarettes, the more likely they are to become strongly addicted to nicotine. To appeal to girls, cigarette advertisements communicate that smoking makes them glamourous, cosmopolitan and cool. To transfer this message, they spend $5 billion each year on advertisements. Additionally, they endanger the next generation when, despite the high risk of low birth weight and infant mortality, 20.4 percent of women smoke during pregnancy as a result of tobacco ad campaigns and high nicotine content that maintains addiction.

Feed the Models, Not the Industry

Advertisers would like us to believe that every part of our body needs fixing - from eyebrows to noses to breasts, hips and thighs. They profit from creating a beauty standard that is impossible to achieve. Men and women alike are led to believe that we can fix everything with make-up, cosmetic surgery, designer clothes and of course, smoking. Today's models weigh 25 percent less than the average model twenty years ago. To aspire to these unrealistic standards, 80 percent of today's 4th grade girls are or have been on a diet to lose weight.

We Need Your Participation in Love Your Body Day

On Love Your Body Day, activists around the country say No to twisted beauty standards and hazardous advertisements by holding rallies, pickets, house parties, classroom discussions and more. In many areas, Love Your Body Day events are being held on the weekend to accommodate local schedules or after sundown to accommodate the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Get active yourself by:

  • Visiting your favorite department store and asking them to display the Love Your Body poster
  • Hosting a House Party to show one of our Redefining Liberation 30-minute videos and discuss the issue
  • Compile negative ads and images of women and young girls to create your own Love Your Body display

Call for an Action Kit

A Love Your Body Day kit is available from the NOW Foundation. This kit includes fact sheets on women's health, tips for planning an action, a Love Your Body poster and petitions. Merchandise, books and educational videos, such as Redefining Liberation and Hollywood: Smoke and Mirrors are available at a very modest cost. Call 202-628-8669 or visit our website at

Design the Love Your Body 2002 Campaign Poster -- Win a Trip

The NOW Foundation is hosting a poster design contest for the fifth annual Love Your Body Day Campaign. The poster will be distributed nationwide and featured on the NOW Foundation web side. Winning entries will be exhibited at the next National NOW Conference in Minneapolis, MN, and the grand prize winner will win a ticket
to the conference.

Category I: $400 prize for open competition (non-student)

Category II: $400 prize for undergraduate or graduate student

Category III: $200 prize for high school student

Category IV: $100 prize for elementary and middle school student

Deadline: Postmarked May 1, 2002

For further information on the Love Your Body Campaign and participation rules for the poster contest see or call 202-628-8669.

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