First-ever 'Love Your Body' campaign pushes positive body image

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A local organization is promoting finding beauty in yourself ... no matter the size, shape, or color.
The South Dakota National Organization for Women hosted the 'Love Your Body Campaign' on Saturday, but you didn't have to be at the event to embrace the message in your own life.

They're providing a boost of confidence to achieve the goal of self-assurance.

If you're a size two ... or a size 2 X-L, the South Dakota Division of the National Organization for Women wants you to know, you're amazing.
Hailima Yates says, "Love who you are. Whatever you are, whatever flaws you have, just know that you're beautiful and be your confident self."
According to NOW, 53 percent of American girls are 'unhappy with their bodies' at age thirteen.
But that startling statistic gets worse ... by age seventeen, that number jumps to 78 percent.
They say part of the problem stems from the standards set by media and advertising.
Studies at Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts show that 70 percent of college women feel worse about their own looks after reading women's magazines.

Lesleigh Owen says, "We get a lot of messages that our bodies aren't good enough. They're too big. They're too brown. They're too gay. They're too something."
So this movement looks to put an end to self-consciousness ... the first ever 'Love Your Body' celebration at the Seed Theatre gives people a chance to share their struggles ... in a space they feel comfortable.
Owen says, "It lets us realize that so many other people are going through this and you're not alone. Even if we're not necessarily at the place where we love every aspect of our body every second of the day, we can maybe start renegotiating our relationship with it and try to make peace with it."

Speakers and performers took center stage with personal stories to tell of times they were bullied and body shamed for looking a certain way.
Yates says, "You have other people in your life that could have you not feel good about yourself and you look in the mirror and you can also see a reflection you don't like."
But despite their struggles, many of these speakers have put the negativity in the past and embraced their beauty.
Including local musician, Andreia Mraz.
Mraz says, "Obviously I'm not a size 2 and I'm okay with that."
Mraz says body image was something she struggled with for years, until she realized one thing.
The 'Love Your Body' campaign pushes for positive body image ... and many in attendance say true acceptance has to come from you. NOW suggests not comparing yourself to others, and not obsessing over the number on the scale.
Yates says, "Society may tell you what a woman should look like and what a man should look like, but it comes to yourself on how you want to look and how you want to present yourself."
South Dakota NOW'S Love Your Body event plans to be back next year, after saying their first campaign was very successful.