Life in Balance

Through this online art blog/gallery we can encourage, inspire and share hope with one another…We invite who you to share your “NAPS” (News, Art ,Poetry, Songs) or inspirations. Email if you would like to share inspirations. Please note we can not post advice with regards to nutrition and exercise.

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Staying true to yourself

Jada Pinkett-Smith backs up her daughter Willow Smith‘s decision to cut her hair even though society thinks otherwise.

In the article, Jada states:

“The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination.

“I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain,” the actress continued. “Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.”

I wish every girl in our world had someone close to them remind them that we should be listening to our heart instead of what the world may be dictating to us.

Thanks again to Leviana for this lead!

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Advertisements could prevent us from living “Life in Balance”

EDOYR honours “Life in Balance.” We believe it. We live it. We love it. But, we also live in a world where the term “balance” is often ignored.
The other morning I was watching Food Network Canada’s Chef at Home starring Michael Smith, one of Canada’s best-known chefs, before leaving for the office. The volume was on low, but I could still see what Smith was making. Right after Smith put what appeared to be a loaf of honey oat bread into the oven, this commercial came on.
This Atkins Diet commercial introduces Cheryl Lynn Wolf, the 2012 Success Story Superstar Winner, and then describes all the foods dieters can eat to find a perfect balance between carbohydrates. In other words, the commercial tells its audience that if they go the Atkins way, they can be just like Cheryl.
The selling point: You can get your free Atkins Quick-Start Kit by following the directions provided in the advertisement. What that really means: If you apply for a free start kit, you could be just like Cheryl.
As soon as I watched this commercial, an extremely loud “this answer is not correct” noise seemed to go off in my head. You know the one:
Companies, not just Atkins, sell us what they say are quick fixes for our problems and insecurities.
In this example, we are promised that if we are unhappy with our weight, all we have to do is go on the Atkins Diet to find happiness, like Cheryl did. The problem with that, though, is eternal, lifelong happiness cannot be achieved through the purchase of products, whether these products are weight-loss plans, a new book, teeth-whitening toothpaste or a new pair of shoes.
Not to mention, we honestly have no idea if Cheryl is truly happy. How is her spiritual well being? How is she mentally? Does she love herself for who she is (regardless of the fact that she lost weight)? We don’t know the answer to those, but we’re tricked into thinking that Cheryl must be happy in all those areas because before and after photos show her smiling from ear to ear after using the product being sold to us in the very commercial we are watching.
After Atkins spokesperson Courtney Thorne-Smith stopped selling a diet (like the other several that exist but do not work…I mean, the diet industry has a 98 per cent failure rate!), this commercial came on.

Anna Olson, chef and host of Sugar and Fresh on Food Network Canada, shows us that cooking can be as easy as 1-2-3, especially with the new Philly Cooking Creme, which can be used for dressings and sauces of all sorts.
My first sarcastic thought after watching this advertisement: The Atkins Diet would not approve.
Do you see how we are thrown from one extreme to the next? We could be watching television for our own personal pleasure and then be told that to experience even more pleasure, we would need to buy into a diet program to help us lose weight. Then moments later, we could be told to indulge because it’s easy, fun and, well, taboo.
Where’s the balance in that?

— Leviana Coccia

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Unattainable Beauty Standards by Nisha Thomas

What happens when the level of beauty becomes so unattainable that not even a human can fit into the criteria?
“H&M has been sticking real models’ heads on computer generated bodies”, as stated in the Huffington Post on December 5, 2011.
That’s what happens.
In a world where women and girls are constantly being told they are not good enough, it is no surprise that everyone finds themselves landing short. Airbrushing was just the beginning, which has already gotten extremely out of hand. It is absolutely unrealistic for women to even imagine that it is physically possible for their head to be wider than their hips. Those are the kind of images that are circulating and presenting today’s societal standard.
What did H&M have to say?
When the use of fake bodies began to circulate, H&M came to their defence saying that this action was taken “to show off their clothes”! Show off clothes that will not look like that on the average consumer? If the tactic was to be realistic, why not have had a real person model the clothing so consumers have an idea of what the clothes will actually look like on them? The image below is computer generated body with real models’ heads placed on it.

“Even the models we see in magazines wish they could look like their own images.”
― Cheri K. Erdman.
The illusion of the “perfect, flawless body” is advancing to even greater extremes now. Check out this video about Photoshop (I promise, it is three minutes that you will not regret!):
What are the extreme lengths that corporations and the media are willing to go to? Not only women, but everyone, needs to take back the definition of beauty. The Norweigan Broadcasting Corporation, who were the ones that initially discovered this, emphasize that “this illustrates very well the sky-high aesthetic demands placed on the female body”. It is difficult to simply ignore the constant bombardment of these images, but one of the driving forces comes from confidence in oneself and one’s own body.
“Healthy emotions come in all sizes. Healthy minds come in all sizes. And healthy bodies come in all sizes.”
Cheri K. Erdman

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Looking Beyond the Mirror

The media is huge issue and a huge contributing factor for eating disorders, because what people see is not reality. The extremely thin people they see on the billboards are a. airbrushed and b. are not leading a healthy lifestyle. The National Eating Disorder Information Centre informs us that 1.5% of Canadian women aged 15-24 had eating disorders in 2002. That number has not gone down, if anything, it has been climbing. That is not counting unreported cases – which is common, due to the still prevalent stigma associated with eating disorders. It is sad to see the magazine covers and realize that girls are striving to be something unrealistic. That is why it is refreshing to see something like this Newsweek report on “Unattainable Beauty” – where they reveal all the photoshopping and editing that goes into making a magazine or a billboard. Sometimes the celebrity/model is not even aware that they are going to be airbrushed into an impossible ideal.
Eating disorders affect both men and women, and make them inclined to go to extreme measures in order to attain the unattainable. Who defines what is beautiful? The media has the most power, because when we are exposed to hundreds of ads each day, we are taking in subliminal messaging about what we should look like, what we should eat, what we should buy. If you are a beautiful person inside, you are a beautiful person outside as well. Looks are not everything, but this value is one that is not taught in school. It is up to parents to make sure their children are not pulled into the darkness of this shallow, shadow world that is shaped by television and Internet images of unattainable “beauty” standards. 
Jean Kilbourne is a sociologist who has made 4 movies up to date, “Killing Us Softly” being the first one. Her insight into society and media explains for women are portrayed and what that does to how women treat themselves, and how they are treated by everyone around them. It is an eye-opening and shocking movie, but we must remember that despite what the imaging does, we can still fight back. Campaigns such as Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty (View a model’s make up video here – also eye-opening are an inspiration and a relief that all is not lost, and if perhaps, more companies took on this approach, we could change the way the media portrays beauty.
Please find the “Killing Us Softly” video on YouTube below:

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Media Literacy

The importance of media literacy is growing exponentially, as we are bombarded by negative body image messaging every day. Critically examining the world around us helps us keep true to our own bodies. Examples such as these are eye-opening and thought-provoking.
This is a revealing blog entry from The Centre for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt that displays two ads found in Men’s Health fitness magazine. An advertisement for almonds has two different approaches on how to target men and women. Read about it below:
The following image speaks for itself – ALDO’s model is evidently photoshopped here as seen by the absence of his torso:

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.”  –Audrey Hepburn