By LAUREN BREITHAUPT
Published: July 10, 2014
Raising awareness about body dissatisfaction, weight stigma, or healthy eating can begin with activism. A group of individuals in the Midwest have taken the idea of prevention to heart and grown into a group of activists. REbeL, Inc. is a not-for-profit school-based eating disorder prevention program on a mission to change the definition of health and beauty for everybody. The key components of the REbeL model include student-driven peer-to-peer outreach, and programming based on dissonance, mindfulness, and empowerment. As part of this program, students and teachers together rebel against the thin ideal, body hatred, the unhealthy diet mentality, and weight stigma. The students of REbeL, REbeLers, encourage individuals to “be” agents of change. RebeL empowers individuals to identify and dialogue about eating and body image issues, raise awareness among their peers and in their communities, and work to create innovative solutions for change. REbeLs join together, posting informative and positive messages on social media platforms and school and community events.
Raising awareness through activism occurs on both small and large scales. Below are a few examples of how you too can become an agent of change.
1.) Use your voice on social media in a positive way. Raise awareness about unhealthy dieting, our culture’s unrealistic standards of beauty, or encourage acceptance of all shapes and sizes.
2.) Join an organization such as the Eating Disorder Coalition to advance the recognition of eating disorders on the federal and state level.
3.) Speak up. When you hear conversations stigmatizing others about their weight or shape, encourage acceptance of all shapes and sizes.
4.) Encourage your friends and families to move towards healthier relationships, both with food and with their bodies.
Together we can be catalysis in our schools and communities as we strive to create a healthier, more positive community for all.