Operation Beautiful seeks to give ordinary women pride in the beauty they possess
By Kim Campbell, Ryerson Social Work Student and Scarborough Southwest Resident
In a time when society continues to focus on appearance as the sole determinant of
beauty, it remains troubling for women and young girls in terms of forming a positive
body image. Celebrities, magazines, billboard advertisements, commercials, movies,
and other forms of media portray women not only through sexualized images but
by representing only one body type, and it seems almost impossible for women to
approach this often unattainable standard of beauty.
As a young woman, I was inspired by hearing a news story about a high school student from Montreal who was committed to challenging the girl-on-girl bullying that was taking place within her school. She began sticking post-it notes in the girls’ washroom that encouraged positive self-image. The movement began to spread with female classmates writing encouraging post-it notes to each other.
The movement, known as Operation Beautiful, originated in North Carolina with a
woman named Caitlin, who was dedicated to encouraging positive body images. Caitlin briefly discusses the movement on her website, stating, “Through Operation Beautiful, I hope we can all encourage a positive body image in ourselves and others. I truly believe that your beauty comes from the inside, and that the unique qualities that make you who you are should be valued and celebrated.”
Operation Beautiful remains a powerful tool in encouraging diversity; however, the need for these kinds of movements illustrates not only how powerful the media is but how it continues to perpetuate oppression on the bases of size, ability, age, and colour. I would encourage everyone to take that extra moment to keep this movement spreading, and to use it as a way to discover the real meaning of beauty.