• Monique Jephcote

PART 1/3 PRACTICING CRITICAL AWARENESS



Here I am reading an excerpt from Brene Brown’s book titled: “I thought it was just me (but it isn’t). Making the journey from ‘what will people think?’ to ‘I am enough’.”

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This excerpt is specific to getting you to build critical awareness around an almost universal shame trigger: body image & appearance. Awareness around this issue is 1 thing. Critical Awareness is another.

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*”Critical awareness is the belief that we can increase personal power by understanding the link between our personal experiences & larger social systems”.

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If body image & appearance is a sticky point for you (it’s a universal shame trigger), then I strongly encourage you to have a listen to this video as well as the coming 2 further videos over the next week.

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Have a listen & 1st step - here are the 6 big picture questions for you to answer:

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1. What are the social community expectations around appearance?

2. Why do these expectations exist?

3. How do these expectations work?

4. How is our society influenced by these expectations?

5. Who benefits from these expectations?

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Then:

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Six reality check questions:

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• How realistic are my expectations?

• Can I be all these things all of the time?

• Do the expectations conflict with each other?

• Am I describing who I want to be or who others want me to be?

• If someone perceives me as having these unwonted identities, what will happen?

• Can I control how others perceive me? How do I try?

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Answering these questions is a start, but often not enough. *”Practicing Critical Awareness means linking our personal experiences to what we learn from the questions & answers. When we do this, we move toward resilience by learning how to: contextualise (I see the big picture), normalise (I’m not the only one), demystify (I’ll share what I know with others)”.

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“Practising” Critical Awareness is what the following 2 videos over the coming days will discuss more.

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I really encourage you to have a listen & start building some critical awareness in your own life around this issue of body image & appearance xx

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Statistics below.

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*Reference: Brown, B. (2008). I thought it was just me (but it isn't): Telling the truth about perfectionism, inadequacy, and power. New York: Gotham Books.

Statistics from Brene Brown excerpt:

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What is the impact of these expectations?

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• Approximately 7 million girls and women suffer from an eating disorder.

• Up to 19% of college-aged women are bulimic.

• Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness among females.

• The latest surveys show very young girls are going on diets because they think they are fat and unattractive. In one American survey 81% of 10 year old girls had already dieted at least once.

• A research survey found that the single largest group of high school students considering or attempting suicide are girls who feel they are overweight.

• 25 years ago top models and beauty Queens weighed only 8% less than the average woman; now they weigh 23% less the current media ideal for women is achievable by less than 5% of the female population - and that’s just in terms of weight and size.

• Among women over 18 looking at themselves in the mirror, research indicates that at least 80% are unhappy with what they see, many will not even be seeing an accurate reflection. Most of us have heard that people with anorexia see themselves as larger than they really are but some recent research indicates that this kind of distorted body image is by no means confined to those suffering from eating disorders. In some studies, up to 80% of women over estimated their size. Increasing numbers of women with no weight problems or clinical psychological disorders look at themselves in the mirror and see ugliness and fat.

• According to the American society for aesthetic plastic surgery since 1997, there has been a 465% increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures.

• Women had nearly 10.7 million cosmetic procedures, 90% of the total. The number of cosmetic procedures for women has increased 49% since 2003.

• The top five surgical procedures for women were liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck and facelift.

• Americans spent just under $12.5 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2004.

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Who benefits from the appearance expectations?

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• The $38 billion hair industry

• The $33 billion diet industry

• The $24 billion skincare industry

• The $18 billion make up industry

• The $15 billion perfume industry

• The $13 billion cosmetic surgery industry

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Reference: Brown, B. (2008). I thought it was just me (but it isn't): Telling the truth about perfectionism, inadequacy, and power. New York: Gotham Books.

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