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Nick & Sarah’s Advent Calendar Challenge!
Some of you may remember Nick Watts of MGEDT and myself (BodyGossipSarah) taking each other on in a charity band challenge earlier in the year where we spent a week getting photos of as many people in Oxford and Bristol wearing the MGEDT charity band, (I would like to quickly mention that I metaphorically wiped the floor with Nick last time.) Well once again we are up against each other- this time in our Advent Calendar Challenge.
This year the countdown to Christmas will not only be marked by the tiny piece of chocolate hiding behind that cardboard door- oh no! Nick and I have something far more exciting up our sleeves for you.
We out our heads together and compiled a list of 23 body image topics which we will be quizzing the public about over the next 23 days. Their responses will be caught on film and uploaded to our challenge blog each day (or every day we manage to get one!) then on Christmas eve, Nick and I will post a video of our experiences throughout the challenge. (We did contemplate doing the final video on Christmas day but concluded we would be far too busy eating, drinking and generally being merry.)
As always we want to hear from you too. We’ve added our list of different body image subjects below, along with the days we’ll be chatting about each of them. So if you’ve got something to say then get involved! Film a clip of yourself talking about the topic and send it in to us.
The Body image advent line-up.
1st The media and body image
2nd What’s your opinion on airbrushing?
3rd Doing it for the kids- what do under 16’s have to say?
4th A guy’s perspective
5th A girl’s perspective
6th Fad diets, would you?
7th Fat Talk- how does it affect you?
8th How does fashion fit into body image?
9th Your body growing up- what was it like in school?
11th Your perception of eating disorders
12th Scars? an eyesore or a story?
13th Older people, do you think about your body image?
14th Plastic surgery- are you for or against?
15th How would you define beauty?
16th Bad Hair Day! How important is your hair to you?
17th Sport- is there more pressure?
18th Piercing and tattoo’s- love, hate or regret the day? Would you have them?
19th Advertising- is it too much?
20th Ethnicity- different ideals?
21st Disability- how does it change your outlook on beauty?
22nd Teens- Body image hell, or learning to love it?
23rd All I want for Christmas… If you could see one thing changed what would it be?
24th Nick and Sarah talk about their December adventure!
So keep a lookout on the blogs over the next few weeks, and let us know your thoughts. You can also join in with related polls and discussions on the challenge at the following places-
http://Bodyimageadvent.tumblr.com - Here you will find all the vids in one place!
Of course don’t forget to follow us on twitter for commentary as we terrorise the streets! @nickinoxford @BodyGossipSarah
Wish us luck!
Sarah & Nick X
Check out my introduction video to the challenge:
You can check out Sarah’s video at http://bodygossiping.tumblr.com/
Why Body Image?
I wanted to keep this blog separate to keep the flow. I have an interest in body image, cleft lip and palate, disfigurement etc and the psychological effects. I am in the middle of a collaboration, designing a play for Body Gossip. My part matches a poem I wrote (or actually am still writing) about beauty. I’ll quote some lines from it at some point! X
Day 21 - Disabilities
Day 21 was disabilities and how they affect body image, we apologise the blog is up late but we were busy preparing a little surprise for you all for the end of the challenge, these videos were very hard to get for this day and we didn’t get any - so here are our thoughts on the topic
Nick on disabilities
Sarah on disabilities
We had no submissions!
Join us tomorrow (Day 22) so we can talk about Teens, then our final topic on day 23!
Nick and Sarah x
Natasha Devon, from Body Gossip - on Men, Body Image and the Body Gossip Book
Imagine you have a friend who is obsessed with their appearance, to the extent that it is dominating pretty much their every waking thought. Imagine they spend an average of four hours every day styling, plucking, shaving, moisturizing, applying makeup and trying on endless outfits. Imagine that, in addition to this, they toil endlessly in the gym to get what they consider to be the ‘perfect’ physique. They’ll wear only designer labels, and their life is consumed by analysing how they are perceived by others. Their image is, quite literally, everything.
Now imagine this friend of yours is a man…..
This was exactly the scenario I was faced with when I appeared in the BBC3 documentary ‘How to Live with Women’. The programme featured Terry, a 19 year old from Wales, whose grooming routine and gym obsession was putting significant strain on his relationship with his fiancée and two young children. As his mentor, it was my job to make him see the error of his ways.
I arranged for him to take part in a live body confidence radio show (during which members of the public could phone-in) and I took him along to a fashion shoot for London’s leading plus size fashion magazine, Evolve. But the technique that had the greatest impact in tackling his issues was quite simply talking to him.
Being a visual medium, the television programme focussed heavily on the shoot and footage of us in the radio studio. What wasn’t shown was the relentless hours I spent encouraging Terry to open up. The fundamental format was this – I asked Terry what he thought about a body related issue (either his own or someone else’s). When he responded in a somewhat questionable manner I simply asked him ‘why?’. And I kept asking him ‘why?’ until he was forced to question his views and engage in a little introspection.
Of course, it transpired that Terry had been bullied. He’s been beaten at school and in the street for being ‘skinny’, and felt such omnipresent self-loathing that his excessive aesthetics-based lifestyle was the only way he could deal with it. In a woman we’d readily accept this. For a man, it was a momentous confession.
I came to a few crucial realisations whilst on the set of that show. Firstly, I realised that when it comes to female body obsession, we’re a lot more sympathetic. The listeners who called into the radio show we took part in were invariably scathing and sarcastic. They were laughing at Terry because they considered his choices ‘pathetic’ and ‘vain’. Had he been a woman, his self-esteem problem would have been immediately identified.
The second was that Terry was suffering from an eating disorder. The term ‘eating disorder’ is somewhat misguided, in that it inherently makes us think of food. But compulsive exercise is a form of ED. One does not have to be skeletal, emulating the pictures we so often, sadly, see in the press, in order to have a dangerous and life-altering condition.
The last, and possibly the most important, thing that dawned on me is that men need to talk. Women have a built in support network in which they’re free to discuss their bodies, warts and all, at length (usually to the mild annoyance of their companions). We normalise the issues, and that is a great shame – But men have the opposite problem. Men assume no one else is suffering in the same way as they are, because they’re only permitted to discuss variations of about three topics – usually football, cars and women – in their peer groups.
At Body Gossip, the campaign I run with Ruth Rogers, we ask the public to write something authentic about their bodies. Some stories are then performed by our celebrity cast and some will be published in our forthcoming book. We exclude no one, regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation – We all have a body and we all feel a certain way about it. Once, we were asked to make the campaign a female-only one, in exchange for financial benefit. We refused. We passionately believe that men can and should have a voice in the body image debate.
That’s why Body Gossip are so proud to be associated with MGEDT. It is time for men to step out of the shadows and acknowledge that they get eating disorders, too.
To contribute to the Body Gossip book go to www.bodygossip.org/book.
Body Gossip, which works with the All Parties Parliamentary Group on Body Image, is a pioneering and all-inclusive campaign asking everyone in the UK to write something about their real bodies. You can follow them on twitter @_BodyGossip or check out their facebook page www.facebook.com/bodygossip
Day 19 - Advertising
Today we were talking advertising, a very popular body image debate! Check out today’s videos…
Nick on advertising
The most random public video on advertising
Sarah on advertising
Natasha Devon popping in to give her opinions on advertising
So that was fun, we are nearing the end of the challenge! so for the next 2 days we will be talking ethnicity and disability, day 23 we will be taking the “all I want for Christmas” wishes! and day 24 will be a nice little sum up of our experiences during the challenge.
It was like the whole crew on video today!
Nick & Sarah x
The Nick & Sarah 'Body Gossip Film' challenge- an update
As those of you who follow me on twitter, or indeed have liked the ‘Nick and Sarah Challenge’ page on facebook, will know this month Nick and I are once again up against each other as we source and create three brand new Body Gossip films.
Last friday I filmed my first one, with a particularly lovely lady who managed to do each section of her story in a single take. Infact it was my dodgy camera work that meant we had to redo a coupple of shots. So there was me, mighty excited about having got underway with my filming task, so after a long day at work yesterday I decided to try my hand at editing it. (Nick (who is far more of a technical genius than me) had offered to edit mine for me, but I decided that I wanted to do the entire thing myself.) So I sat down opposite my boyfriend’s computer last night with my flip camera in one hand and a mug of strawberry milk in the other. I’m not sure why, or indeed if, that’s relevant. But it somehow felt like an appropriate beverage.
Turns out, my editing skills weren’t bad! I still need to select some music to underscore the piece and add that into the mix, but the film is sorted! I’m really pleased with the results and can’t wait to share it with you guys! I won’t say any more for fear of giving too much away about the piece. Once Nick and I have all our films done, we will be uploading them onto youtube so that you guys can vote for your favourite.
So, tomorrow BodyGossipRuth and BodyGossipTash are travelling down to Bristol (woohoo!). But it’s not just for a catch up occasion, oh no, tomorrow sees the start of this years Appearance Matters conference run by CAR (Centre for Appearance Research). The two day event is full of all sorts of interesting body image subjects- the amount of which make me wish (for a fleeting moment) that I was Hermione Granger, and could be in more than one place at one time.
This conference however, is doubly exciting from where I’m standing (ok- sitting.) Body Gossip were asked to provide a performance for the event, which is when BodyGossipTash had the genius idea that a Bristol based theatre company (who I happen to work for when I’m not body gossiping) should create and perform the piece.
Unique Voice, the aforementioned company, agreed to take the project on. Incidentally it made me incredibly excited, and a little anxious- the collaboration of two huge parts of my life, which, until now have remained separate always makes me a little apprehensive that perhaps the universe might implode.
Nonetheless, the UV and BG collaboration began and slips containing body image questions were sent out to delegates who will be attending the conference in the next two days. Questions such as ‘Where do you feel most confident with your body, and what are the feelings at this place?’ we’re asked, and the results collated to be used as inspiration for the performance.
Over the past week, members of the creative team and actors from UV have been meeting to rehearse the performance, and I’m really excited to share it. As those of you who have seen previous Body Gossip films and performances will know, to date they have been very text based. With a wide range of people speaking/gossiping about an even wider range of body thoughts and feelings.
This time however, we have done something different. The 15 minute piece is a physical exploration of many of the themes mentioned in response to the questions we sent out. It is playful, and will hopefully invite and allow everyone to relate to something of what they see. In addition to this it has TOTALLY rekindled my love for Florence and the Machine (not totally relevant but maybe worth mentioning.)
Hopefully I will have some footage to share with you all post performance, but for now having set my alarm so that I can be up and at the conference at 9.30 tomorrow morning, I’m going to sign off and get some sleep.
A Poem inspired by Body Gossip and the Body Gossip book
I wrote this the other day and have only just got round to posting it. To find out more about Body Gossip go to www.bodygossip.org
With their perfect hair and perfect teeth,
There really is no relief
from media bombardments of body ideals
we sometimes forget it isn’t real.
With their skinny waists and skinny thighs
diverting our bleary eyes,
all we can do is fantasize
about how we are supposed to look.
Well, maybe we should all go and read the
Body Gossip Book
To realise that we are not the same,
and that it’s fine, there is no shame
in being real and being true
and accepting you for YOU