All Articles Tagged "self image"
Chris and Ada Ngoforo, a couple living in London are very serious when it comes to teaching their daughters about their Nigerian heritage. When they were unable to find dolls that looked like their daughters, the entrepreneurs launched an African-themed line of dolls called “Rooti Dolls,” reports CNN.
The couple became concerned because their three daughters did not speak Igbo, one of the ethnic languages spoken in Nigeria.
“We thought amongst ourselves what we can do to actually help them to learn Igbo more,” said Chris Ngoforo.
Although the designing of the dolls began as a simple way for the Ngoforo’s to bridge the gap between their daughters and their Nigerian culture, they quickly realized that they had a fantastic business opportunity in front of them.
The dolls are programmed to speak in a variety of Africa’s native languages and are said to promote positive self-image in young girls.
“We observed that over 90% of children born or living in the diaspora and millions in Africa do not speak or understand their mother tongues. Our research made us understand that the reason for this is not because our children don’t want to learn their mother tongues, but more because there are not many essential tools that can easily be both educational and fun at the same time,” said Ngoforo.
So far the line has produced 12 dolls. Each of them are from a different country in Africa, speak multiple languages and comes with her own interesting backstory. As if that isn’t amazing enough, Ngoforo revealed that he and his wife were sure to create the dolls with varying shades of skin color in an effort to do away with inaccurate representations of Black people.
“Over the years my wife and I have found it extremely hard finding real black dolls that can truly connect with our little daughters. The dolls out there in the market are nothing close to the real image of a black child in terms of features and other attributes — they are either too thin, too light or chiseled-faced, and even the complexions of most of the dolls are kind of whitewashed,” he said.
“The unfortunate effect of this stereotypical misrepresentation is a case of low self-esteem among black children who have been directly or indirectly made to believe less in themselves as a black child. They have been made to believe that you have to look like a white doll to be accepted as beautiful or even good,” he continued.
Skip to the next page for more photos of the Rooti Dolls.
By Jai Stone
A few days ago, my friend posted a photo of this Mocha Model on her Facebook page with the following statement:
“I LOVE this photo for a ton of reasons, but what do you think? Tell the truth… Beautiful? Confident? Bold? Work of art? Or Crazy? Tell me!!!”
My gut reaction was to cringe. I was like “oh sh**…here we go!! As I looked at the picture, the first thing I saw were the imperfections. I heard myself making mental notes about “belly fat” and “thighs rubbing together,” but I was sure my thoughts would be mild compared to what others were going to say. As I slowly scrolled down to read over the 90+ the comments, I tensed up prepared to read statements that reflected all the usual ugliness that people have made ME feel over the years. In my mind I thought, “let the fat-bashing begin.”
I put on my emotional armor and prepared for the hurtful, crude, and derogatory commentary that I have so often faced in social media. I was prepared for anything… except what I actually read. The overwhelming majority of the commentators thought the image was a beautiful! They stated the picture was a “work of art” or “very real,” and of course there was the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” sentiment. In fact there was not one comment of the “bashing” variety at all.
The first thought that entered my cluttered little brain was “OMG, look at all these politically correct sons of sap suckers right here…. They know they’re lying!!” I found my irritation growing over what I considered “white lies.” Every day we are bombarded with images of models and celebrities that we deem “beautiful.” Images and messages that reflect that ideal beauty is quite the opposite from our Mocha Model pictured above. Nothing about her body type, complexion, hair color or eye color is what society tells us is beautiful. At least some of those folks had to be lying. But what if these folks weren’t lying, wouldn’t that be a kick in the head??
That’s when it hit me…it didn’t matter if the comments had been lies or acts of kindness, what mattered most was what I had seen with my own eyes. As I made all those critical observations, I totally overlooked her smooth and creamy skin and nicely rounded hips. I missed the fact that her face did not have a hint of shame and her posture had absolutely no reflection of unworthiness. The fact that Miss Mocha had the confidence to allow the world to see her totally unshielded had totally been lost on me. How had I seen so little and missed so much?
It’s simple. My own warped self-image had clouded my vision. The critical observations that I had made about the Mocha Madame were much like the ones that I had assigned to myself many years ago. It took me decades to look in the mirror and not pick myself apart and once I reached that point I thought I had “arrived.” Now I had the chance to experience a different kind of mirror…the human kind. Not only did I see Mocha in the picture, I saw myself as well. And while I love what I see in the mirror today, I have yet to embrace my own reflection in others. So maybe I was the one telling the lie, I just didn’t realize it. Sometimes God creates new ways for us to conquer old challenges….He’s kind of awesome that way.
Lesson 1: Many times the problem we see with others reflects what we need to repair within ourselves.
Lesson 2: Life gives us the same challenge many different ways until we conquer it without fail.
Jai Stone is a Socialpreneur and founder of several successful online properties including Emotional Nudity – a lifestyle brand focused on personal development for women. She is also a highly syndicated blogger that writes about love, life and the pursuit of authentic joy. Follow her on Twitter @JaiStone or visit her blog.
I’d been hesitant to tell my friends. I’d cajoled myself into doing so as a means of accountability that doubled as a warning for those who may see me in six months and say, “I thought she lost the weight. What happened?”
Starting a new weight loss program is exciting for many people, I’m sure. But there was a part of me that wanted to offer a rebuttal at the hint of a positive remark about my changing body, at any comment that I deemed overly congratulatory: “Just don’t judge me if I gain the weight back.” That phrase covered me, I thought, if I failed to keep the weight off. Because I’d already accepted that I probably wouldn’t be able to keep it off.
I know. There are many things wrong with that thinking.
There’s a picture of Jordin Sparks’ Shape Magazine cover saved on my computer desktop. “One day, you’ll flaunt it like this,” I said when I started to shed the pounds. I imagined myself behind an Instagram filter infiltrating folks’ social media timelines, completely aloof and wearing a two-piece bathing suit. Probably jumping off a trampoline or something. Flexing something fierce mid-air all Gabby Douglas-like. And then, because I was too embarrassed to say it aloud, I thought this: No, you can’t flaunt it. Because once you gain the weight back, you’ll be ashamed of what you used to be.
I figured it would be better to keep the body-flaunting at a minimum. Better to let old high school friends serendipitously spot me at the grocery store than in a comb-through of my Facebook timeline, a visual reminder of my ups-and-downs and then up-agains.
Again, so many things wrong with that thinking.
Who accomplishes anything with the belief that it won’t work out? Why get in the game if I thought that I’d somehow regress to where I started? Weight, you see, was the one thing I’d internalized as the thing I couldn’t get right. But now that I’ve started to get right and stay right, now that I’m understanding that managing my weight doesn’t have to be a permanent struggle, I’ve had to recalibrate my internal voice.
I wondered if other people who’d struggled with weight also had to grapple with the fact that self-confidence and self-belief doesn’t automatically come with each stride on the treadmill. It is, at once, a separate and entangled journey to lose weight, love yourself, and trust yourself at the same damn time.
I found an article about phantom fat and how some dieters are “waiting for the other shoe to drop… People who’ve gained and lost and gained again may be less likely to embrace a new image that they worry won’t last.”
And then I read what one of the quoted experts said: “We become numb to how mean we’re being to ourselves.”
Yikes. I realized that this doubtful voice could have belonged to an unsupportive phantom friend. One who lived with me every minute of the day and whose voice taunted me the second I’d get excited about my physical future. The thing is, I long would have banished this homegirl for her negativity, however, I spoke to myself with her voice and I didn’t recognize it. It just was. As much as I exercised, I knew that this voice would need to be exorcised too.
The “love yourself” rhetoric was cute and all, but I needed to know what loving myself looked like in action, in deed, and in conversation.
Marianne Williamson’s oft-recited “Our Deepest Fear” was once taped to my bathroom mirror, office wall and refrigerator. Meant to carry me through professional and spiritual journeys, I reread it as I decided that shift my perspective on weight watching.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
After reading it, I rewrote it. Out loud.
Who am I to be gorgeous, desirable, and hot? Who am I not to be? Why am I not all of these things right now? My insides are pretty dope too, my personality, my smarts. Those things never yo-yo.
Tell me I’m slimming down and all I’ll say is thank you. Ask me what my workout routine is or how I’m eating and I won’t deflect. If I’m up a pound after a rough week, I won’t resign my entire svelte strategy to complete failure.
This new conversation, I think, is the beginning of confidence, the signs of self-belief. They don’t come on a treadmill, but in the things you tell yourself. The physical is fleeting, and even greater than the privilege of wearing a bathing suit, we all deserve a sense of wholeness, one that we prescribe to ourselves and for only ourselves.
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