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It’s safe to say that social media is here to stay. It’s part of our lives whether we like it or not, and it has influence over the culture in which we live whether we like it or not. But the real key to confronting social media is in how we engage with it, consume it and to what degree we allow its influence over the way we think, live and believe that will make all the difference.

Today’s episode is a fascinating discussion with body image researcher, Renae Regehr. Renae’s non-profit organization, Free To Be Talks, promotes positive body image to youth, parents and educators. Her insight in today’s episode sheds a ton of light on social media manipulation and helps us all think critically about our social media use and consumption. In a world of flawless, Renae encourages us to find the confidence to be who we are to the fullest.

“In a world of flawless find the confidence to be you to the fullest.” —FreeToBeTalks.com

Episode Quotes:

  • [America’s Next Top Model] They would take these ordinary girls and transform them, and then they [the models] would have all these opportunities, they would be successful, they would go to these exotic places. On the one hand, I totally knew that this was a curated, produced show, but I didn’t give that too much thought and I just kept watching it. But over time I actually thought I wanted to become a model.
  • But the message is incredibly relevant even to today. What she does in this documentary [Killing Me Softly by Jean Kilbourne] is she goes into the ins and outs, the smokescreen, the marketing strategies and how advertising images impact us.
  • Everything that I had been investing in in myself, things that I thought would make me happy, make me fulfilled, were just leading me to be more anxious, more lonely, more preoccupied with my body. It was the exact opposite effect of what I wanted. Watching this documentary was a life-changing thing.
  • Narratives shape our reality.
  • The session that stands out so much for youth because it’s their reality, it is what they encounter on a daily basis, is media manipulation. I watch the students as they watch the videos that show before and after images from Photoshop and so many of them have their jaws open and looks of disbelief on their face.
  • I always say at these talks, “Once you know this information and you continue to participate in the use of apps, there’s a sense of responsibility that comes with this knowledge. You are part of the problem if you keep perpetuating these standards.”
  • A lot of us know media manipulation occurs, but because we see thousands of these images and they’re such subtle changes — teeth are whitened, blemishes are erased, wrinkles are erased, frayed and stray hairs are taken out — we start to think that that’s what we should look like and it’s impossible to look like that. So it’s consistently setting us up for failure. We will never ever look like that.

Guest Bio:

Renae Regehr is the founder of Free To Be Talks, a non-profit organization that promotes positive body image to youth, parents, and educators through education in schools, speaking events, and media. Through her MA of Counselling Psychology she developed and tested a research-based curriculum, Free To Be. To date, over 2000 boys and girls have gone through the program. Renae is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and also a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post and her work has been featured in TimeDarlingGood Men Project, and Everyday Feminism among others. Positive body image is much more than feeling comfortable in your skin, and Renae is passionate about equipping others with practical tools to thrive now, irrespective of what their appearance is.

Website: Free To Be Talks

Mentioned In This Episode:

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