Letters From Our Visitors
December 15th, 1998
In honor of the holiday season, I’d like to share a random bunch of letters we received recently by email. The Winter Solstice acts as a symbol of renewal as we move back toward the light. The letters we receive from people continually renew my faith in humanity. Take a break from holiday mobs, consumerism, impeachment inquiries and the Gulf War. These letters will remind you too what we all can do to make our world a better place, little by little, perhaps even just through inspiring each other.
Happy holidays from me and all of us at About-Face.
“I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS PROJECT. Thank you so much for what you are doing for women everywhere. You are concretely addressing the advertising industry’s abuse of the female image. I am proud of you! I am going to email this site to every single person I know! I believe that through critiquing the companies that follow this trend of abuse, and applauding the companies who are brave enough to treat women right, progress can be made. Thanks for supplying contact info for these companies so that I can add to the noise!
“I would like to see your website become more high profile! You have created a witty, great looking site and I hope that more and more women will get a chance to see it”.
-Rebecca, student, 21
“Hi! Remember me? It’s Megan, the recovered anorexic who loves your site? I was just wondering if I could use some of your pictures for my Christian Eds. site? They’re really scary looking. I will provide a link to your site from mine. Also I have an eating disorders online club where you can chat and a self-confidence club. If you want you can make links to there. Oh gee, I must sound like one big advertisement, but I love helping people who struggle with these issues. It’s wonderful what you’re doing. I have recently had a relapse of anorexia, but just looking at your site and having the clubs has helped me. When I help someone else, it helps me.
Well here’s the sites: http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/christianeatingdisorderssite. And the confidence club: http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/cleosclub. They’re really not websites, and I didn’t really dn them myself, I just founded them. It’s by Yahoo clubs. They don’t have too many members yet, but I’m hoping to get the numbers growing. Thanks for your help. God bless. And have a good holiday season. Oh yeah. One more thing…I have just started a newsletter called Grrl designed to help people with self issues…it’s free. Maybe I could send you it or you could put a place on how to get it or something. Keep up the Grrreat work! Have a good day!”
-Megan, student, 15
“Hi – I recently came upon your website (I believe I was just clicking around Oprah’s site and somehow got linked up to yours). I really believe in your project and think it is such a worthy cause. I’m so disappointed in the fashion industry, an industry that perceives the worthiness of women through our weight/appearance.
“With an ever-growing number of eating disorders amongst teenage and pre-pubescent girls, concern for the emotional and mental well-being of a whole generation of women is not really prevalent in our lookist culture-it should be made abundantly clear that women will no longer be spoon fed the lies of the fashion industry. For many years I felt that as a Latina I was not beautiful, especially since our lookist culture told me that large hips and a shapely butt were not exactly the best traits to have. I am coming to accept my body with all its flaws and I have found to some degree that I am more at peace with myself when I am not at war with the glossy images of “thin perfection.” “As I read the articles and essays on your site, I was amazed to find how many other women feel the same way I do. It’s about time. Thank you for the site- yours is an extremely important project. I would love to be involved in it further, so please feel free to email me with any information.”
“Dear Jean, “I just wanted to drop a note to thank you and everyone else at About Face. I had emailed back in September that I was working on a research paper about media influence on female body image, and that I had found your site invaluable. At any rate, my paper was turned in on October 30. It was to be a rough draft to see how we were progressing with the assignment, but mine was good enough that I don’t need to submit a final copy! I spoke to my instructor and she said it was the best in the class! I never would have known where to begin were it not for the site. Thank you so much. I would love to send you a copy of my paper…can you email a snail mail address to me so can get it out? I have to admit, I am SO sick of looking at my research material! Thanks again!”
“Hi. I stumbled across your site yesterday when I was surfing the Web, and I just wanted to congratulate you on your fine work. You probably don’t get many emails from people like me–first of all, I’m a 27-year-old male, and furthermore I’m probably as far removed from you politically as a person can possibly be. That said, I do think you’re doing a wonderful job in promoting acceptance of *all* body types and fighting pop culture’s unhealthy and absurd ideal of what a person *should* look like.
“The thing that upsets me most is the horrible body image society is portraying to women and young girls. And I know this has a negative effect–I see it in my own family. I have a 14-year-old niece who’s so skinny you can barely see her when she turns sideways, yet she’s been on a low-fat health-food kick for as long as I can remember. If anything, she needs to put *on* some weight. Same goes for my 42-year-old sister. At 5’6” and probably 120 pounds at the most, she constantly complains that she’s fat, hates her body, and wishes she could lose 20 pounds. She smokes to keep herself from eating–meaning, I guess, that she’d rather die of lung disease than gain a few pounds. The logic of this escapes me completely.
“What’s most astounding about our society today is that even a beauty like Marilyn Monroe would be considered “fat” today, yet here was a lovely woman with a gorgeous, voluptuous, fully curvaceous figure. Today, even Kate Winslet is the butt of “fat” jokes, and to me, she looks skinny at best and average-sized at the worst. I just don’t understand what people want and expect out of women, and why. Whatever happened to our appreciation of the “classic” figure of generations past? What men desired then in women was a true, full, womanly figure. What they seem to desire now is a popsicle stick. I don’t get it, and I never will. But I do know it is extremely unhealthy for both sexes to be promoting this as an ideal, and that’s why I’m glad there are sites like yours to try and help set things straight. Thanks again!”