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Join the campaign against airbrushed images and win the war for women's self-esteem

What’s your discreet indulgence? Share it with me – I know you have one, we all do.

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It’s that small thing which, generally speaking, we don’t go around shouting from the rooftop. However, it’s not necessarily a secret. 

For me it’s between my magazine subscriptions and day trips to a wonderful spa. A place that I go to, knowing that I won’t bump into anyone and knowing that I can simply relax and think clearly. 

Even just sitting in the jacuzzi, steam shower or sauna increases my productivity for the coming week and, when we work so hard, I feel it’s a treat that we all deserve.  In fairness, most of us service our cars every year, spring-clean our homes, so why not take care of our mind and body, relieve stress and improve our self-esteem.

On a recent trip to the spa, I was looking through my bag in the changing room when I noticed some obvious differences between the ladies. Some were extremely confident in getting undressed openly, while others were frantically trying not to fall over, balancing their modesty with a towel and ensuring the rest of us do not get a peek. 

Not that we were interested, but isn’t it funny the varying degrees of self-confidence in modern society?

Women are bombarded by media images about how their personal lives, careers and bodies should be. We are pressured to be a certain type; therefore I am sure it comes as no surprise for you to hear that one in four people are depressed about their body. 

I am delighted to hear that Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson, MP for East Dunbartonshire has won her battle to ban airbrushed pictures of Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington.  Ms Swinson claimed a L’Oreal magazine campaign was misleading and digitally manipulated and the Advertising Standards Authority upheld the claim, agreeing that the images were exaggerated.

Digitally enhanced photographs of models are leaving young girls chasing the illusion of a flawless appearance. Although women have made gains in education and employment, they're still losing the self-esteem war.

At what age do young women start feeling conscious about their image? A girl's self-esteem peaks when she is about nine years old, and then takes a nosedive, but why? 

With unlimited access to the internet, music videos and reality TV, young girls see celebrities and rich WAGS and want that life.  Ask a young girl what she wants to be and chances are she’ll tell you she wants to be famous, ahead of being happily married or having a successful career.

And if you think this is child’s play, take a mental note that, according to figures reported on Monday, more than 2,000 children have received treatment for eating disorders in the past three years.  Doesn’t sound much of a game now, does it?

Are we failing our children and young people?  What do we need to be doing as a community and responsible citizens to place pressure on magazine editors and advertisers to consider restricting the use of such photographs?

The Prime Minister is involved in this debate, as he proposes a ban on inappropriate clothing for pre-teens. But it must go further than that.  We are living in a time of change and we can all be part of that change, in fact we can bring about that change in order for it to benefit our families and communities.

We should all seek through our choices, actions and commitments to address the social issues which we care most about.  It’s our respective responsibilities to ensure we protect our young people, our future generation, and become engaged in a safe and integrated community.

Scottish MP wins battle

 

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