My project was about the body image expectations society has and how to break them. For my actions my partner and I first created an instagram @b0dyimage where we posted empowering pictures to encourage everybody to feel happy in their own skin. Then, we created posters and hung them up around school. These posters had body positivity messages so that people in the school don’t feel like they need to meet the beauty expectations society sets. The biggest actions my partner and I did was create a mural in the high school girls bathroom. We were really passionate about this action because we loved the idea we had on the design. We created the mural because we wanted to show girls or people who walk into the bathroom that they are beautiful and that their body is a good body. Lastly, we massages big companies through instagram. We messages Dove because they are body inclusive and post a diverse range of body types. Dove is one of our allies and we wanted to try and build community with them. We also messaged Victoria’s Secret because they are not body inclusive. Their post only consist of one body type that they consider to be the “perfect” body.

Being an upstander to me means standing up and speaking out about a topic or issue that you are connected to. You should be connected to the topic because that way you will be passionate about it and have a lot to say. You can also be an upstander for one specific person that you want to help and are close to. Being an upstander is not staying quiet because you are scared of the outcomes of speaking up. Being an upstander means to shine light and not be afraid to discuss the issue with your community.

I learned that as a student if I’m really care about a specific topic I will do my best and show that through my work. As an upstander I learned that I work harder and put a lot of effort into the work when I am in some way connected to the topic. For example, I wanted to talk about body image expectations because I know my family and friends have struggled with this or are struggling with their image. Also, these expectations have affected me and caused be to feel bad when I don’t look like the advertised body.

Some ways I would like to continue being an upstander for the topic of body image is to try and post on the body image instagram. I think this would be an easy action because I am really involved in social media already. Also, whenever I have time create even more posters to hang around the school. This would be a good idea because I love art and find drawing a fun activity. Lastly, if my partner and I have time after school we can present our trifold to the middle school. This would be and effective action because a teacher told us that middle schoolers really struggle with their body image. This means that hearing our presentation will help them realize their bodies are good bodies and that they don’t need to change for anyone.

If you want to be an upstander don’t give up on the first obstacle. Being an upstander is hard and you will face many challenges on your way. Also, try and build community with others because this way more people will hear you and you will be even more effective.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Upstander Reflection by Kelly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.

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