On a Positive Note: Another Roundup of People Making a Difference

On a Positive Note: Another Roundup of People Making a Difference

BY: Christine Peat, PhD

Date: June 4, 2015

Every so often we like to recognize individuals who embody the spirit of change our culture so desperately needs, particularly with regard to eating disorders and gender norms. While there are surely scores of examples that go unnamed, we believe it is important to highlight some of the significant work being done in the hopes that we might spread greater awareness and contribute to a culture of change. In the past, we have posted similar blogs, and in the same way, this current post seeks to give recognition to some incredible people from whom you all might find inspiration.


  • In April, body activist and model Ashley Graham gave a TED Talk about radical self-acceptance and her issue with the term “plus-sized model.” In her talk, she eloquently speaks about her journey to self-acceptance in an industry that is hyper-focused on identifying flaws. She states, “We need to work together to redefine the global image of beauty, and it starts by becoming your own role model.”


  • Erin Summers and Zainab Ghadiyali, two Facebook engineers, recently found themselves lamenting both the lack of women engineers represented in the media and the gender-biased experience of those who do exist in that space. “As software engineers, we get asked a lot about what it’s like to be a woman in tech…We would much rather be asked about our technical accomplishments and the technology we’ve built.” It was out of this recognition that project wogrammer was born. Wogrammer seeks to highlight the accomplishments of women in tech (versus focusing on the gender bias) to help break the “brogrammer” stereotype. Check out their website to see their exciting work!


  • Actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy recently received some negative press from a journalist who stated she was “only a good actress when [she looks] attractive.” However, rather than letting this comment get the best of her, McCarthy rose above and chose to speak out against the double standards of beauty in society and particularly in film. Calling it “an intense sickness,” the actress railed against sexism in Hollywood stating, “When John C. Reilly – or any actor – is playing a character that is depressed and dejected, would you say, ‘Well, you look terrible!’?” She refused to acquiesce to this journalist’s opinion of her and in doing so, took a stand for women everywhere. Kudos, Melissa!


Although the above represent just a few examples of some inspiring women, we encourage you all to find your own examples and share them with your friends and family. The more frequently we share such examples, the more visible they become. And with greater visibility, we hope to create a generation of women and men who are empowered to change societal norms for the better.