Refocusing women's self-imaging

Last updated 19:46 26/06/2013
LOOK AWAY: 'Love Notes' campaign aims to have women thinking about what their bodies can achieve, not what they look like.

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A campaign targeting appearance-obsessed young women aims to get them thinking about what their bodies can do, rather than scrutinising themselves in the mirror.

The Young Women's Christian Association's (YWCA) social media campaign "Love Notes" launches tomorrow, and encourages women to see themselves in a more positive way.

Participants would be asked to take a photo of their favourite body part and post it on the Facebook page, with a caption describing why they like it.

Statistics about how young women viewed their bodies was sobering, YWCA board member Hilary Max said.

"More than 52 per cent of adolescent girls begin dieting before age 14," Max said.

"We know having a negative body image affects self-esteem and can lead to depression and social isolation."

Body image stopped young women from joining in on physical and social activities such as swimming and dating, she said.

"Love Notes is about helping young women move away from instinctively thinking about their 'most beautiful' body part and instead thinking about what body part helps them achieve, succeed, help others," Max said.

Each participant would go in the draw to win a Polaroid camera.

Campaign ambassador Sarah Cowley, who represented New Zealand in the heptathlon at the London Olympics, said the project was vital.

"I place a high value in my body through what I have achieved," she said.

"My hope with this campaign is more young women learn to be proud of the many things their body can do for them."

YWCA president Sina Wendt-Moore said addressing the problem of low body confidence was a key part of the organisation's work.

The campaign is open to all New Zealand young women over 13 and ends on July 31.

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