Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dare to bare on social media?

Are you brave enough to bare it all? On the Internet, on a Monday morning, no less?

Calm down, I'm talking about the upcoming makeup-free Monday.

As a nod to National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 23-March 1), The Renfrew Center Foundation is sponsoring its third annual “Barefaced & Beautiful, Without & Within” campaign, challenging women nationwide to go without makeup on Monday and share their photos online.

The Renfrew Center of North Carolina – a treatment facility for eating disorders located in SouthPark – opened in 2007 and is part of Renfrew’s 13-facility network across 11 states.

“From ‘paparazzi’ friends to selfies, we’re obsessed with taking and posting photos on social media, yet we feel pressured to alter those images to what we think we should look like rather than who we really are,” said Paula Edwards-Gayfield, the local site director.

The goal for the campaign and these untouched snapshots is to initiate discussions about healthy body image and inner beauty, a break from the unrealistic expectations (and photo editing) found so commonly online.

“Positive self-esteem and body image is possible, even in the face of today’s cultural pressures that put women at risk for eating disorders and other destructive behaviors,” Edwards-Gayfield said.

Last month, Harris Interactive performed an online survey of more than 1,700 U.S. adults who have some type of social media account, 85 percent of whom have posted photos of themselves online.

The survey – done on behalf of the Renfrew Center Foundation – found that 50 percent of respondents admitted to doctoring their pics before posting.

Yes, cropping and red-eye removal are included in the definition of editing. But the survey found that 1 in 8 respondents tinkered with their pictures because they’re not happy with how they look in general, while 1 in 6 people said they edited to appear thinner.

Another 15 percent of respondents “enhanced” their looks by removing blemishes, while another 15 percent reportedly added color to look “less pale.”

The survey isn’t meant to draw any correlation between social media usage and eating disorders, but rather to serve as a reminder that so much of what appears online has been manipulated.

“Eating disorders are a complex combination of conditions involving biological, psychological and cultural factors unique to each individual. They don’t just happen to affluent adolescent girls, and they aren’t always about getting thin,” Edwards-Gayfield said.

Show your face

Want to participate on Monday? Tweet your makeup free mugs with the hashtag #barefacedbeauty and/or change your Facebook profile picture to one of your natural self.

Refreshing change

Cosmopolitan put a slideshow online actually praising celebs for going public without makeup. It's a nice detour from the usual tabloid-blasting celebs get...

To help promo the recent release of her "Body Book," Cameron Diaz posts sans makeup.

(I love and adore Lorde for posting with zit cream on. That's real life.)