SAGE Brown Bag Lunch

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On Tuesday, March 21st, the Fellows joined SAGE (Students Advocating Gender Equality) for a brown bag lunch to discuss body positivity.

Fellows, please share how you think having a positive body image can benefit a work environment. What were your biggest takeaways from this event?

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11 thoughts on “SAGE Brown Bag Lunch

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  1. Having a positive body image not only make you a better worker, but also invites a community of acceptance within the workplace. How you feel about yourself is very important to your attitude, which people pick up on. The better you feel about who you are and the more comfortable you feel in your own skin contributes to your openness to meet new people. I would think that workers would be more vibrant and energetic doing teamwork because they are not worried about what someone thinks about the scar on their chin or their pant size.

    My biggest take away from the SAGE event was to always look at marketing and media with two pairs of eyes: one being a consumer who can like or dislike a message, and the other being a critic of the purpose, motives, or appropriateness of the marketing. As a woman who believes that the brands I support should reflect my values, it’s important for me to make sure that I be conscious of biases or stereotypes being portrayed in advertising or the media that feed into the gender issues that are pervasive within our society. Consumers hold the power, and having an awareness of the messages and purposes of marketing can help us make better decisions for the advancement of society as it pertains to how women are portrayed or even preyed upon for their insecurities.

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  2. A positive body image can be very beneficial to a work environment. In order to preform any job well it is crucial to be confident in what you are doing and being assertive when assigning tasks. In any team it is important for people to have your back and be supportive of you. If you are lacking positive body image you may not feel confident around those who you are working with and that could make your work environment pretty miserable. On the flip-side, a positive work environment that promotes positive body image can be a great work environment and motivate employees to work hard and do their best.

    My biggest take away from the SAGE event was that what you see in media is not always the same message that the larger corporation may have. Advertising is a very sneaky business and many advertisements may try to play to your emotions in order to lure you into buying a certain product. I also learned how much power that we have as consumers and how people can make a change if they band together.

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  3. Having a positive view of who you are and being confident with your body and yourself can be very beneficial at every stage of your life. Having been at Bentley for two years and having applied to many different internships and positions I have realized that the positions I have gotten and succeeded at have been those where I’ve been confident with who I am and my capabilities. I am not saying there is a direct correlation, but there is definitely some type of relationship. Being confident shows that you aren’t scared of showing your true self and won’t be scared of portraying that when working, which is what employers look for. They don’t want you to lie about who you are because if you do and then end up being hired and you aren’t actually like the person they were looking for you will be miserable. If someone in the work environment doesn’t like us for ourselves, then that is their problem and that is something that becomes more apparent to me as I go to more events as part of my fellowship.

    I also believe that by having a positive attitude towards your body image at a work environment people around you will begin to respect you and also appreciate the way you look. I strongly believe everything starts with yourself and if you can’t look at yourself positively, how will others do so? This is something that the Dove campaign challenges, and I believe they are right to some extent. I believe they are right in that we are too hard on ourselves, but I think they should also consider that the people that know us will have a different perspective of our looks because they hear us talking about it. If my friend tells me all the time that her eyebrows are too light, I am eventually going to start noticing.

    Regarding the talk today with SAGE I think one of my biggest takeaways is the power we hold as consumers to change things. However, one thing I didn’t really get to comment on during the talk that I think is worth thinking about is how people will use make-up because they enjoy it and find it fun, so we shouldn’t judge anyone who is using makeup and think they are using it to hide their true self, they are using it to express themselves the same way we use clothes. It is true that some companies promote make-up in a way that seems that it’s the only thing that can change us and make us prettier. It is this what we need to change not the use of makeup and I believe we do have the power to do that.

    Monica

    P.S. – Sorry for the long post, I feel like there is so much ground to cover on this topic

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  4. I believe that having a positive body image while in your work environment is crucial to feeling confident. Without confidence completing tasks and assignments become even more daunting than it should be. Also without a positive body image, one may become distracted at work or feel as if they need to hide themselves from fellow coworkers. It is crucial to have a positive body image because if you do not feel good about yourself, how are you going to support other members of your team? But with that being said just because you have a positive body image does not 100% translate into having confidence in the work place, I believe that it is a factor but not the end all be all.

    My biggest takeaway from the event today was that although from the eyes of a consumer, campaigns like Dove, may seem like they are trying to boost esteem, in most cases they are trying to implement a strategy to enhance sales. While I do think that Dove has made a positive impact and has raised awareness on this topic, I think it is also crucial to view the advertisements from a critical standpoint. I have not thought about this until after the event today. I realized that instead of focusing on empowering women, Dove has crafted the message to analyze your physical appearance and accept your flaws. I think that this is self-destructive and needs to be altered in order to improve further campaigns.

    Hannah

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  5. This discussion centered around the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, and led to many points about companies promoting positive body images in their internal and external messaging. I think that a company like Dove using these ideas in their advertising is only a positive thing. They are in the beauty and self-care industry. So, at a basic level, the more they can show the public that they believe in natural beauty, the better. I also think that maintaining this stance as a company will create a more inviting and effective work environment internally.

    My biggest takeaway from this event is how companies market regarding social issues can have a large and varied impact on consumers. I was shocked at how many different opinions there were about the same marketing content that Dove released. I think this will be especially important to remember and consider when/if I work for a company that is doing marketing campaigns that deal with major social issues.

    -Amanda

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  6. The major takeaway I had was the idea of being a “conscious consumer”. This is truly an important aspect of our society and one in which the information age has enabled. This is also the beauty of a capitalistic society.
    I do believe that analyzing or critiquing ad campaigns acts as placing a band aid on the problem rather than addressing the cause. The premise behind this idea, is that if these companies (Dove, Axe… etc.) simply changed their advertising campaigns that this would somehow solve the issues that young girls and boys face. While they should be held accountable, it misses the core cause of this issue. Young people, rather than looking to family or religion for values and advice on how to live a virtuous life, are idolizing celebrities. Regardless of whatever message a celebrity sends to the world, it is going to create issues if it is attempted to apply that message broadly. Looking to these third parties for validation or verification that one’s own life is worthwhile is a fundamentally flawed idea. That, in my view, is the true cause that society must address in order to move past this.

    -Jeff

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  7. I thoroughly enjoyed the SAGE brown bag lunch on Tuesday. I always appreciate talking about the topic of body image and marketing. I think it is important that society is learning to accept different types of body images. However, I thought it was interesting that some people brought up the fact that these ads could be seen as just promoting poor body image, or thinking of ourselves as not beautiful. It brings up the fact that we are still focused on outer beauty, rather than inner beauty. However, I think that it is inevitable and inescapable for society to not judge outer beauty. Therefore, I think the campaigns are positive.

    I also felt uneasy about the fact that Axe is in the same company group as Dove. With such different messages, it is even more unclear as to Dove’s real motive in changing their advertisements to show different types of women.

    -Andrea

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  8. On the side:

    On Wednesday March 22, I had the pleasure of attending the Loomis Sayles presentation in the Trading Room. This conversation was to promote the Loomis program UWIN, which provides mentors to young students on how to achieve their career goals and grow in the finance industry. They also had a panel of employees, two women and one man, who talked about their experiences at Loomis. The conversation centered around the lack of female representation in the finance industry and Loomis’ attempt to promote female roles to help balance out the male dominance. The host, Shannon O’Mera gave a great synopsis of what Loomis is all about, what the mentorship program is all about, and how was can get involved.

    It gave me another perspective on female involvement in finance and how important it is to be confident as a woman in business, which is what CWB Fellowship is all about.

    -Andrea

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  9. Body image affects all types of ways you think about your physical appearance. You can be self-conscious about your facial appearance, which could influence you to buy makeup products or products that supposedly change the way your face looks without makeup. You could be self-conscious about specific body parts, which may influence you to pay great attention to what your wear or what environments you place yourself in. For example, I know that I am self-conscious about my acne, so I made sure to go into work for the first couple of times wearing makeup. Now, I feel like I cannot stop wearing it and I am always worried if my makeup is covering up all of my blemishes; if I have to cough into my elbow and some of my makeup brushes off onto my sleeve, I worry until the next time I catch a break to go check in the mirror whether or not my face looks uneven. This is a very minor/rare effect of negative body image, but it just goes to show how distracting the insecurities that accompany a negative body image can be.

    Imagine how mind-freeing it would be to have a positive body image. Dove is one of the companies today that is working toward improving specifically women’s body images. They run campaigns such as “Sketches,” or “Evolution,” to make women see that their natural self is more beautiful than they think. Before attending the event yesterday, I had unwavering, 100% support for Dove’s campaign. However, someone made a great point: while Dove is trying to get women to feel better about themselves, they’re still doing it through the lens of beauty, which only perpetuates the idea that a woman’s worth lies within her outward appearance. I still support Dove, but someone has finally made me see a “flaw” (if you will) in their campaign to promote higher self-worth in women. Us consumers have to recognize these flaws in other companies’ ads and campaigns, and hold them accountable.

    -Olivia

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  10. I believe that a positive body image is beneficial in the work environment because it is connected to the energy and confidence that one radiates. When one is comfortable with him or herself, he or she is not concerned about his or her insecurities. This allows one to concentrate on his or her work and take pride in what one does.

    My biggest take away from the SAGE Brown Bag Lunch is that through body-positive marketing campaigns, companies are using their platform to create important conversation among consumers. Although they may face some criticism over whether or not the campaigns were belief or profit-driven, what is more important is that people are talking about it. People are reevaluating their own definitions of beauty, and through greater representation of different types of women, they are beginning to see the beauty in themselves as well.

    – Lia Golick

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  11. The Sage Brown Bag Lunch allowed me personally to learn more about body image and how some companies may or may not be trying to promote body positivity. Since I was not aware of the several campaigns that have been started by companies that are supposed to make you feel good about your body, I was confused at the beginning of the conversation. It seemed as though Dove and other brands really do care about people loving the way they look. However after seeing multiple sides of it, they could be doing it just for brand image. To me it does not seem like a beauty product has any place in trying to promote body positivity when they still sell items that you would buy in order to make yourself look better. I enjoyed hearing from many of the women in the room about how this made them feel and it opened my eyes to how this could actually be negative. Another major topic we discussed was the opposite side of the spectrum and how products like Axe have entire ad campaigns based on what is thought to be the most masculine things. All of the men simply walk round attracting women and in these instances they are sending bad messages to women again.

    It was good to gain more knowledge about the issues that people face regarding body image. I believe it is mainly important to love yourself and to look past anything on the outside. We should not be judging based on body image but by who people really are. When Dove and Axe run campaigns we need to be conscious that they are not helping anyone and that it is mainly for their own benefit and not societies. Some of the women also spoke about being brand conscious and buying products from companies that you believe in and that are actually trying to do something good in the world. This could be what changes things finally and helps suppress brands from exploiting women.

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