Women’s body image has been a hot pop culture topic for the past decade or so, and shows no signs of going away as more and more young women try to shape themselves to resemble the thin physique of today’s actresses, models and music artists. This trend is slowly changing as the public becomes more aware and educated on the issue, even the fashion industry, which recently included plus-sized models in designer runway shows. The problem, however, runs more than skin deep as young women not only struggle to fit into a certain size, but also how to think of themselves as perfect just the way they are.
In a global study, Dove found that only 2-percent of women feel comfortable calling themselves beautiful. In this country, and across the globe, women are stuck in a cycle of negative self-conversation about their bodies, their worth and the way women relate to one another. In a world where skinny sells, STACY NADEAU—one of CAMPUSPEAK’s newest and best speakers—is providing a voice to the opposite way of thinking.
“We need more programming that helps women feel special, empowered, and great about themselves and the dreams they hope to follow,” Stacy says. Since signing up as a model for Dove brand’s “Real Women, Real Bodies” campaign, Stacy has gotten a crash course in the need for positive body image for young women. She has appeared in advertisements—posed in her underwear—in Times Square billboards, magazines, and even on Oprah.
Today she is touring campuses sharing her experiences as the poster-woman for positive body image. Something as simple as being OK with her own body has drawn national attention and turned Stacy into a critical educator on these important topics.
“My whole experience with the Dove campaign molded my approach to educating women,” she says. “They took our ads, copied them, and put them all around a hospital for young women with eating disorders. It showed me that the problem I’m fighting is bigger than I ever thought. If I can empower others who need it so badly, that feels great.” Stacy thinks it’s critical that women’s educational programs emphasize the creation of positive self-esteem.
From the ordinary girl recruited by Dove in a Chicago salon to speaking to hundreds of students during her nearly two years as a CAMPUSPEAK speaker, Stacy is amazed by the response her message is getting, especially from young women battling their own poor self-images or society’s bias for smaller waist sizes. Stacy shares a few examples of how her mission has impacted women on college campuses:
- A young woman approached me and told me she battles anorexia. She was having a particularly bad day on that day and didn’t want to get out of bed to come hear my speech. She did anyway, and told me after that it changed her mood and made her feel better!
- I received a touching e-mail from a young woman whose younger sister battled an eating disorder. She said she went home and told her little sister all about my program. Her sister said to her “We’ve never talked this openly about positive body image before, I like it.” It brought her and her sister much closer!
- I have had many sororities write to me with how they have followed up on things they did in their community or on their campus after I left. One sorority began doing self-esteem workshops for young girls in their community and it has had such an overwhelming response, and they have been conducting them ever since! Parents write to them and tell them how much they’ve impacted their sons and daughters and this sorority now uses these workshops as their philanthropy!
- I have had no better feeling than receiving an e-mail from a faculty member who has seen imminent changes in the culture of the students I spoke to. Many faculty members have e-mailed me saying I’ve truly changed the way students think about themselves; this is my goal!
“Each young woman needs to learn how to fight to get herself to a healthy place mentally,” Stacy says. “It’s time for women everywhere to stand up to the media. Enough is enough! I don’t want to be compared to airbrushed figures anymore.”
Stacy also believes student affairs professionals can play a critical role by encouraging conversation about body image and good health, and by setting up safe places where women can vent about their self-image. “Most of all, be good role models for your students,” Stacy advises. “Talk positively about yourself and others around you– especially other women.”
Stacy is a great choice for body image and eating disorder awareness, first year experience, personal growth and self-esteem or women’s empowerment programming events on your campus. Call CAMPUSPEAK today at (303) 745-5545 and let’s discuss how we can bring Stacy’s empowering message to your campus.
Fore more information about Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, visit: