SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) -Twelve new billboards will be appearing throughout Utah in the next two weeks. They send a strong message about other messages found on billboards, in magazines, and on TV, and they target women of all ages.
“There is so much more to be than eye candy.” That is just one of the slogans that drivers will see as they drive along the I-15 corridor. The billboards are going up, because two University of Utah Ph.D students say women’s self esteem continues to go down.
Lindsay Kite, who developed the campaign with her sister Lexie, says their research shows bad body image is an epidemic among women of all ages. ”Many women these days feel terrible about their bodies. There’s a huge lack of self esteem especially in terms of body image and that is having some really harmful effects."
Their research also shows much of that negativity is generated by the images women are bombarded with in the media. "In a world where many media images will tell them otherwise, we really want to spread positive messages."
Reagan Outdoor Advertising is providing the space for the public service announcements, and New Haven, a safe haven for girls with self esteem problems, is sponsoring them. Irene Kotter says problems with body image and self worth lead to more serious problems. "Many of our students come to us with severe and complex emotional behavior issues stemming from self esteem. They have eating disorder issues, self harm where they are cutting, substance abuse, and a lot of relationship problems."
Kotter says media messages are not the only cause, but they contribute. "From what we see in the media we are blasted by images everyday that state that's all that women are worth is to be looked at."
So, New Haven, and the Kite sisters hope Utah women will look hard at the billboards, and think about rejecting less positive messages in the future. "When women believe that it stunts their progress in every other way that matters."
For more information about the Kite sister's campaign and developing a positive body image, you can visit their website at www.beautyredefined.net