Friday, 4 February 2011

Happy women: an endangered species?

Renowned activist, psychotherapist and writer Susie Orbach has launched Endangered Species International Summit to challenge the culture of the body beautiful. 

Winning billboard campaign image created by Red C
  Endangered Species International Summit - established by Susie Orbach and launched today in London - will celebrate body diversity and challenge the culture that teaches girls and women to hate their own bodies. Events will take place around the world in March - the same month as the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day - with the main UK event to be held at London’s Southbank Centre on 4th March 2011.
To launch the summit, Endangered Species, together with DIVA magazine, invited advertising and creative agencies from around the UK to submit ideas for a billboard campaign to communicate the Endangered Species’ message: save future generations of women and girls from hating their own bodies. The winning entry from Manchester’s RED C Agency is unveiled today and will be seen at 11 sites across the capital running up to the Endangered Species summit in London on 4th March. The sites have been donated to Endangered Species and DIVA courtesy of global out-of-home advertising company Clear Channel International.
The Endangered Species billboard campaign features in the March issue of DIVA magazine which is guest-edited by Susie Orbach and goes on sale today.

Jane Czyzselska, editor of DIVA magazine, says: "When Susie told us about Endangered Species, her upcoming event aimed at correcting the warped view we have of ourselves, which is created and supported by our personal histories and the powerful visual media, we decided to join forces and asked Susie to guest-edit a special issue of DIVA. We’re excited about the impact our efforts could have in changing the cultural discourse about our bodies and in turn helping women to feel truly at home in their skin."
Supported by Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, fashion writer Caryn Franklin, actor and writer Emma Thompson and DIVA magazine, Endangered Species aims to engage people from the worlds of politics, corporate life, fashion and media and ask them how they can best contribute to changing those aspects of the commercialization of beauty which are causing such harm to girls and women around the world today.
Susie Orbach says: "Endangered Species summit is an urgent call to action: to save future generations from the body misery which can start as early as 6 and continue until women are in old age homes. The summit aims to show girls and women how they can do something about it, and to inspire them to embrace change."
"Over the past 30 years the workings of the diet, pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic surgery and style industries have made us view the body we live in as a body which must be perfect. The goal of perfectibility has turned generations of women against their own bodies. The young woman who can feel free to explore her interests without being preoccupied by how her body appears or focus on what procedure she should have in the future to change it is becoming an ‘endangered species".
Endangered Species is an International Summit with its UK event taking place at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank on 4th March. Individuals and groups from the UK and Ireland will be joined by initiatives throughout Europe to showcase the work they are already doing with and about young women – from projects in schools, colleges and communities to web-based groups and campaigning organisations. Performance, videos and artwork will frame the day and underline the urgent message of this summit. A truly global summit, Endangered Species events will take place in London, New York, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Sao Paulo.

The latest issue of Diva magazine
  The winners of the Endangered Species/Diva Billboard campaign competition, chosen from over 100 entries, were: 1st Place: Red C ‘Is this the happiest she’ll ever be about her appearance’; 2nd Place Hillcoat-Watson’s ‘Don’t Conform – Change the Norm'; 3rd Place: Rapp’s ‘Nip and Tuck Off'. The judges were Susie Orbach, Diva’s Jane Czyzselska, Louise Carolin and Eden Carter Wood

Diva is the biggest selling magazine for lesbian and bi-sexual women in the UK