March 4th – The Southbank Centre, London, U.K.
I had been looking forward to this presentation all morning.
Endangered Species London kicked off to a great start, with a speech by esteemed psychoanalyst and author Susie Orbach, a presentation by two of my favorite activists – Abi and Emma Moore of Pink Stinks – and inspiring videos by artists Emilia Telese and Stephanie Ifill.
I was enlightened and inspired to hear about the wonderful work of fellow body image activists. I could not wait to hear what Sharon Haywood had to say about Argentina.
I had first gotten to know Sharon via Twitter and would regularly keep up with her and her insightful posts on Adios Barbie – a website devoted to body image issues. Sharon had been instrumental in the planning of the Endangered Species summit and had flown over from Argentina to give a presentation about the beauty myth in the country she now calls home.
I distinctly remember standing behind my video camera, when Sharon started to speak, and being completely bewitched and at the same time overwhelmed by her presentation. My jaw dropped. I could not believe what she was saying.
I have been born and raised in a country – Italy – that, in the words of sociology professor Chiara Volpato “is witnessing a huge social experiment. It is a political laboratory for a regime based on mass media control.” Across all media, women are systematically portrayed in decorative roles. Their bodies are continuously sexualized and objectified. Their voices mostly silenced.
So, I simply could not believe that another major industrialized nation – the second biggest country in South America – could have it worse. Hands down, from all points of view, the situation in Argentina is far far worse than in Italy. Think: ubiquitous billboards objectifying women; the systematic sexualization of young girls; difficulty of average-size Argentinian women to find clothes in their size… and on and on…
I strongly urge you to watch Sharon Haywood’s brilliant presentation – it’s shown here in its entirety.
To watch the clip in HD, I recommend you follow this link to Vimeo.
Sharon is the organizer of the Endangered Species summit in Buenos Aires: it’s happening tomorrow and will be live streamed! I will keep you posted and let you know on Twitter about the link to the live stream (see @illusionists on Twitter). Also check out The Illusionists great video of Susie Orbach’s presentation.
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