On March 8th, women and men around the globe celebrated International Women's Day by honoring women's rights advocates, speaking out against gender inequalities and crimes, and rallying together for a better future. As a Canadian living in Buenos Aires, I was pleased to discover that the natives of Argentina's capital, commonly known as porteños, engaged in the celebration along with the rest of the world. The municipal government offered a schedule of free activities that included lectures about gender stereotypes, outdoor sporting events, debates, and theatrical and dance workshops. Supporters of a political group, the Humanist party assembled on the downtown streets to demonstrate against gender-based violence. In the city's legislature, issues of women's rights were raised. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Radio Nacional Argentina invited me to speak live about body image on its English-speaking program (RAE).
An ongoing discussion about healthy body image is of tremendous importance for the mental and physical health of girls and women today. Especially among porteños. Argentina has the second-highest rate of eating disorders in the world. A recent study revealed that only 5% of Argentine women are satisfied with their weight. Health-care workers and feminist organizations have not overlooked such sobering realities. Their lobbying efforts resulted in la ley de talles (the size law), which obliges clothing retailers to fully stock clothing items in a wide range of sizes. Unfortunately, the size law covers only the province of Buenos Aires; it excludes the capital, the heart of the fashion industry, which prefers to sell its clothing in only the smallest of sizes. These are among a few of the issues I discussed with the show's hosts, Fernando Farías and Mirian Turkula.
With RAE's international listening audience in mind, we also engaged in a dialogue surrounding the implications of body dissatisfaction, the role of the media, and the recent exciting developments in fashion and advertising. Whether you're interested in discovering more about Argentine beauty standards or are curious to learn more about the various issues related to body image, give yourself a fifteen-minute break and listen to the interview.
And let's keep the conversation going.
(Originally published at Adios Barbie on March 15th, 2010.)