Op-Ed: Feminists use hashtag to spread body positivity

Senior Gavin Turner, Jamie Tabron and Freshman Molly Nash post photos on Instagram, tagging their photo #knowyourbeauty as a part of self positivity.

Irene Ryan
Entertainment/Feature Editor

Feminist Coalition members hashtagged their Instagram photos with #knowyourbeauty on Oct. 30, to spread body positivity and self love.

The club organized the day for members to post pictures of themselves in which they felt beautiful. The club also encouraged non-members and students who don’t even attend WGHS to post.

“The campaign went so well!” senior Annie Bryan, one of the four coalition’s presidents said. “People from Webster, Ladue, Nerinx and Kirkwood participated, and we had over 70 people add the hashtag to their selfies.”

“Originally we were deciding between ‘find your beauty’ and ‘know your beauty’ but most people in the club liked “#knowyourbeauty” because the phrase assumes you already have beauty, you just need to realize and flaunt it,” Jenny Perkowski, senior coalition president said.

Body positivity has become a focus of modern feminism, as objectification and unattainable beauty standards have saturated today’s media. The coalition took this and with the help of its members created the hashtag #knowyourbeauty to express acknowledgment and appreciation of everyone’s unique beauties.

Especially for teenage girls, it is really difficult to feel beautiful and love themselves. Social media has become a huge support for young women and others to explore and express themselves and recognize their power and boost their self confidence. The rise and popularity of the selfie has subverted the male gaze and given women the power to control what people see, and in some ways it has taken away the power to objectify. Professor Derek Conrad Murray of University of California-Santa Cruz published a paper “Notes to self: the visual culture of selfies in the age of social media,” which argues the selfie as a political act.

Murray said in his paper, “It feels like a revolutionary political movement – like a radical colonization of the visual realm and an aggressive reclaiming of the female body.” Murray added the selfie is an “unfiltered form of expression” that gives people, especially young women,“an opportunity for political engagement, radical forms of community building, and most importantly, a forum to produce counter-images that resist erasure and misrepresentation.”

Too much emphasis and importance is placed on women’s bodies and physical attractiveness. Women today are forced into believing that all that matters is how they look, sometimes even when that isn’t what they truly care about. #knowyourbeauty gives women the power to take their beauty into their own hands.

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