Interview with Revolution of Real Women Part I

I recently interviewed Brianne Widaman of Revolution of Real Women, which is a group that aims to empower women to be true to themselves, rather then what everyone else says they should be. Widaman started RRW when she was in recovery for anorexia and bulimia.

The group has grown to 19,000 members and is extremely successful. Widaman says that Revolution of Real Women is essentially a media she created that she wished to see in society.

I loved interviewing Brianne and want to thank her very much for her time!! Good luck with Revoution of Real Women, it’s amazing and I hope only the best for you!

Follow Revolution of Real Women on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and MySpace.

RRW - REAL photo Brie self

JK: Tell me about the Revolution of Real Women. How did it start?

RRW: REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN™ started back in 2005 when I created a Flickr group (which still exists today: www.flickr.com/groups/RealWomen) because I wanted to create a group that was more about empowering women to be true to themselves rather than what everyone else said they should be.

When membership began to steadily increase, I realized I needed to spread the message and began to expand to other social networking sites.  Today, we have over 19,000 members (what we call our “ALLIES™”) across all of our different sites and groups. It’s always amazing to me to see how interested people are in this subject. The most common responses I get when I tell someone about the campaign are “Wow! That’s really needed right now,” and “It’s about time!”

I started RRW when I was in the early stages of my own recovery from anorexia and bulimia. It was really a way for me to create the media I wished to see… (yes, similar to the Ghandi saying “Be the change you wish to see.”) to celebrate the messages I thought women needed to be hearing instead of the ‘airbrush-this’ and ‘lipo-that’ talk that’s, unfortunately, a part of our society.

JK: What does the Revolution of Real Women aim to achieve? What are your goals?

RRW: Our core goal has not changed. We focus on being both a positive source of information and encouragement to women as well as a strong and fearless ALLY™ when it comes to speaking up for a woman’s right to be her authentic self. One of the most critical ways we can go about making LASTING change is by providing women with the knowledge of how manipulated we really are when it comes to advertising. This campaign is about ousting the misperceptions we’ve come to accept as truth – that we should be using what mass media tells us in shaping who and what we are.

At the core, most of the offenders of women’s self-esteem just want to make money. Ignoring the biggest players in the game, no matter how powerful they might be, is not going to make them go away. We need to convince them that there’s just as much, if not more money to be made by uplifting women rather than degrading and manipulating them.  In doing so, we will have to engage in conversations both with our ALLIES™ as well as our ADversaries™ to come to a place of understanding and common ground. We welcome the involvement of every individual throughout the globe to magazine editors, television executives and producers to fashion designers and modeling agencies… ALL parts of the mass media machine must be involved.

We are currently in the final stages of launching our long-anticipated website (RevolutionOfRealWomen.com) where members will be able to join our campaign and take part, not only in the IDEA of a revolution, but a virtual, even physical one as well. I can’t go into too much detail, but we wanted to find a way to make it easy for people to get free information as well as participate in the movement. REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN.com will be a powerful hub of activists and advocates who believe in empowering women and making lasting change when it comes to how women are portrayed in media and how women feel about themselves.

As far as future goals go, I try not to limit myself or the campaign. I have a pretty varied background from the music and entertainment industries to politics and non-profit work, so the sky is the limit on what RRW will seek to do to spread our message and create really and lasting change.

JK: Do you believe that the media places negative pressure on society to be skinny?

RRW: Well, yes, I think that’s probably a given, though it would be a mistake not to look at the whole picture. To simply go and blame the “media” isn’t entirely fair. That’s a broad term and it encompasses a lot more than one might expect. When we’re facing such a huge dichotomy between the issue of obesity and eating disorders in our country, it’s hard to deny that something’s messing with the message. Moderation in life, in so many ways, is the key.

We really embrace the “Health At Every Size” philosophy. It allows women room to be their genetically authentic size, and goes to show that just because one woman weighs more than the next, that does not necessarily mean one is healthier than the other.

JK: Do you think the media has gradually improved throughout the years pertaining to its body image messages? Or, do you believe the messages have gotten worse?

RRW: That depends if you’re looking at the big picture or not. On a broader scale, yes, absolutely – media has become more detrimental by increasingly using of our self-esteem and insecurities as their leveraging points. They’ve gotten way too good at it.

However, it wouldn’t be fair of me not to acknowledge the smaller ways in which we, as a society, are trying to better the situation. Activist and interest groups are seeking to help. Big names like Dove are putting themselves out there with more positive messages to encourage young women to believe in themselves. Even magazines have made some baby steps as of recently by including more average-sized women on its pages. There’s even a modeling agency that’s caught my attention named the Ben Barry Agency – they are working from inside the fashion industry to fight size and age discrimination.

These are all our “ALLIES™”. What we’re experiencing is the culmination of years of revolutionary ‘talk’, and combining that with an organized effort to actually join together and DO something about it. There’s a buzz in the air right now, and for me, it’s absolutely invigorating. We’re going to do it.

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~ by jklein0414 on November 12, 2009.

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