Author: Jill Andrew
Jill Andrew PhD(c.), is an award-winning columnist, educator/student equity advisor, and media consultant on female body image, empowerment, and representation. She is founder/director of BITE ME! Toronto Int’l Body Image Film & Arts Festival, Curvy Catwalk Fashion Fundraiser, co-founder of FatinTheCity.com a plus-size fashion ‘fatshion’ blog, and the annual Body Confidence Canada Awards. Her reflections on race, gender, and size analysis through a feminist, fat studies lens is a crowd favourite on-air and in print. Jill is a Soroptimist Foundation of Canada Grant Recipient as well as a recipient of the Michele Landsberg Media Activism Award among others. She recently did her first TEDx talk on Fat Shaming. For more on Jill visit http://www.bodyconfidencecanadaawards.com/
It’s back to school season! The thought of a new grade or even a new school may be a little daunting for many children, but there’s the usual excitement to see that old friend again, say hi to their favourite teacher, or go shopping for that cool back to school item with parents or guardians. However, for far too many of our children, back to school means back to body shaming and size- and appearance-based discrimination on a daily basis – and that’s not including cyberbullying which never takes summer break.
According to PREVNet, Canada’s authority on research and resources for bullying prevention, 75% of people say they’ve been affected by bullying and 78% of Canadians say not enough is being done to stop bullying in their community. And unfortunately, when it comes to cyberbullying, we know from a recent Canadian Women’s Foundation study that Canadians aren’t optimistic about the future: 87% of Canadians believe the next generation of women in Canada will be just as or more likely to experience online harassment. The effects of bullying online and offline can include lowered self-esteem, habitual school absenteeism, poor academic performance, and heightened risks for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, engaging in unhealthy relationships, criminal activities, and even suicide.
I never forgot when my aunt stood up and berated my mother in front of a table full of family and friends for allowing me to have, “one more piece of meat” during a holiday meal. Funnily, most kids can’t wait to sit at the ‘adult table.’ It’s a right of passage I suppose. But for me, being a kid with the adults simply meant more eyes, more potential pot shots under the guise of concern, tough love and reminders to sit up straight. Sure, the latter had health benefits I’d appreciate later in life but the rest? Body shaming.
Last month, a Mall Santa in the town of Forrest City, North Carolina, resigned after fat-shaming a boy who visited him. “Lay off the hamburgers and French fries,” said Santa to Anthony Mayse, a 9-year-old boy who had merely asked Santa for an iPod Touch and Drone. He left Santa’s lap in tears.
EveryBODY has a story and a purpose – and on October 6, the 4th annual Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCAs) brought together a diverse and inclusive community to recognize 11 outstanding champions of body positivity, equity and diversity!
This year’s recipients truly embodied what body confidence is all about. From body activism to human rights, education, arts and entertainment, health and wellness to fashion with a social conscience, recipients are role models who are leading the way toward a world where body-shaming does not win.
The 4th annual Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCAs) will take place on October 6, 2016, in Toronto, ON.
The BCCAs are an opportunity to publicly celebrate people who are at the forefront of the body positivity movement in Canada. BCCAs acknowledge champions of body diversity and body equity! EveryBODY has a story and the BCCAs provide a platform for us to share them. If you’ve got a particular story to share let us know today! Nominations are open until July 1.