(Ed. Note: This is a guest post from Kyl Myers. Thanks, Kyl!)
Twins, Lindsay and Lexie Kite, or should I say Doctors Lindsay and Lexie Kite (they are defending their doctoral dissertations this summer) are on a mission to help women and girls recognize and resist the flood of harmful media messages that bombard them about “ideal” health/beauty standards and female worth. By promoting media literacy, public speaking engagements, social networking, and raising critical awareness of the messages conveyed by the “beauty industry” – the Kite twins are helping women recognize they are more than their appearances, and that true concepts of beauty and health are not one-size-fits-all.
The Kite sisters know they are not going to make the health and beauty industry or the media disappear, nor do they necessarily want to, but what they can do is give women the tools to be aware of advertisements, and the skills to critically analyze the messages and motives behind the multi-billion dollar industry that constantly tells women they are not good enough. They are not changing the media as much as they are changing people’s minds about the media.
Lexie said, “Women are told from the time they are little that they are ‘beautiful,’ ‘pretty,’ and ‘sweet’ which gives females the idea they are valued only for their beauty.” In addition to this, women are taught to be submissive and they lose their confidence and their ability to speak up and say no. Women are constantly reminded that to be desirable, one must be thin, have large breasts, a flawless face, perfect hair, etc. and that being looked at and being desirable are important — so important, that not meeting the (unattainable) beauty ideals leaves women in a cycle of self-objectification and shame. Lindsay and Lexie are getting women fired up, they name this problem with the beauty industry and the media, and encourage women to rebel against an industry that does not have their best interest at heart–an industry that states “this is beautiful and this is healthy.”
An industry that is narrow-minded and full of shit.
Lindsay is a major advocate of redefining the ways we speak about health. Lindsay states, “Health is often perceived from the outside and is defined by poor tools.” Health should be based on actual health measurements, as opposed to how “fit” someone looks. Looking healthy and being healthy are different concepts. There are healthy women who are naturally never going to be a size zero, and attempting to fit in to ideals of beauty could actually harm a woman’s health.
Most importantly, the Kite sisters do not feel that all women are victims in need of help. On the contrary, they listen to the experiences of women and their testimonies of resilience and strength against the industry so set on harming them. They then infuse the real life experiences of a multitude of women in addition to feminist theoretical foundations and their academic training to give women tools to recognize, reject, redefine, and resist the messages that surround them about beauty ideals – to carve their own path and help other women do the same.
Something I found specifically impressive about the sisters’ way of handling business is that they will not accept money from organizations’ whose messages and products they do not believe are beneficial for women, such as many cosmetic surgery centers and ‘feminine hygiene’ corporations. We laughed about how if anything needs hygiene, it is male bits. So when Summer’s Eve releases scented wipes for penis and balls, maybe we’re getting somewhere. Until then, Beauty Redefined relies on generous donations from people like us – people who want to see women feel confident about their individuality, not shamed.
The Kite sisters and their non-profit organization Beauty Redefined have already made quite a splash. Now that they have earned their PhDs, they will both be promoting the organization full-time starting this summer. I urge you to like them on Facebook, visit their website, contact them, schedule them for a presentation, donate to their cause, and let people know about them. But more importantly – I urge you to remind yourself daily that you are beautiful, just how you are, and that you are capable of SO much more than looking hot.
Visit their site at www.beautyredefined.net
Contact them at email@example.com
Like and follow them at https://www.facebook.com/TakeBackBeauty