Our Approach

Why We Exist

All.u.re is dedicated to alleviating a first world poverty problem – the malnourishment of self-worth in young women.

So we were delighted to be invited by the NSW Government’s ‘Be Body Positive’ Awards on the 29th June 2012:

‘The Advisory and Assessment Panel…were impressed with the work All.u.re is doing…The Panel would like to extend an invitation to you to attend the Awards ceremony later this month and provide an opportunity for you to showcase your work.’ 

-Caroline Oakley, from the Office for Youth Health & Wellbeing

While fantastic opportunities such as these help us increase social awareness for the positive body image movement, our particular contribution is focused on not merely creating awareness but also on educating young women. We are dedicated to helping girls first realise that there are many toxic representations of image in society, but that this is only the first step to change. We do not merely regurgitate statistics of image-related health issues but rather offer an interactive learning platform for young people to explore and develop an appreciation of their own image-identity.

A key inspiration behind this approach was due to our frustration at the biased representations of women, dependent on what a certain society happens to perceive as beauty. Our research on cultural representations of beauty saw how much certain ‘tastes’ had been presented as objective fact to women rather than subjective taste. For example; in many Western cultures, it is a current popular trend to use fake tan products to achieve a ‘sun-kissed glow’[1], or in other words, use a chemical product to darken one’s skin colour. Yet turn to the other side of the spectrum and consider certain Asian and African cultures; women purchase the product Fair&Lovely, a chemical bleach to help users attain ‘superior fairness'[2].

Our research shows us that the excessive focus on a woman’s body has led to a culture of ‘objectification’[3], where a woman is only valued for her physical attributes. This representation of women has led to a plethora of image-related health issues, such as low self-esteem, insecurity, self-harm and eating disorders.  Amongst masses of research confirming these realities, NPD market research shows that in 2005, seventeen was the average age to begin wearing beauty products but by 2010, it was just thirteen and this age is still dropping rapidly[4].

However what we perceive to be more meaningful to our participants than the statistics and facts, is the fact that we incorporate anecdotes from our own experiences – our different battles with body image, self-esteem and developing an authentic sense of self. These personal testimonies captivate an audience who face the same struggles, and we hope that our sincerity and honesty have far-reaching effects on the girls and an impact that no research paper could replicate.

All.u.re is wholeheartedly working towards a cultural shift. As young women ourselves, we recognise the necessity to be engaging and leave girls feeling enthusiastic about their own body image, with new ideas about self-presentation. Often girls are unaware of the extent to which media and entertainment can influence and govern their psyche – we teach them to cast an evaluative eye on the ideas the media presents us with. The more they can learn to do this, the less control these messages will have on them, and will provide them with the opportunity to flourish as the best individuals they can be, appreciating rather than suppressing diversity, both within themselves and in each other.  We want young women to be free to reach their full potential, armed with the knowledge that their value is not dependent on their resemblance to a catwalk model.

*****

[1] Viska, P 2011, ‘LeTan Loving Summer Launch 2011’, LeTan News and Media, [Accessed:http://www.letan.com.au/news-media/show-all/news-item?id=14]

[2] Fair&Lovely 2011, ‘Multi-Vitamin For Clear, Fair Skin’, Fair&Lovely [Accessed:http://www.fairandlovely.in/products/women_detail.aspx?histid=productId02]

[3] Tankard-Reist, M 2010, Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls, Spinifex Press, Melbourne.

[4] Sax, L 2010, Girls on the Edge: The four factors driving the new crisis  for girls, Basic Books, New York, p.20.

.