Halloween, Breast Cancer, & Love Your Body Day - What do they have in Common?

What do breast cancer awareness, Love Your Body Day, and Halloween have in common? Besides the fact that they are all centered around the month of October, they all also have a lot to do with women’s bodies. I think that raising awareness about what we think - personally and societally - about women's bodies is valuable for improving social consciousness.

Concern for breast cancer has spawned a huge movement around education, awareness, and fund raising. The concern over breast cancer is laudable, however the emphasis on women's breasts may bridge from concern to titillation. T-shirt slogans like "Save 2nd Base" or "Save the Tatas" attempt to bring levity to this disease by way of our cultural obsession with women's body parts.

Now moving to Halloween, which, as a costume-lover, is one of my favorite days of the year! It has exploded in the United States as a top adult holiday, with a heavy focus on sexy costumes for women. It seems that many girls and women use Halloween as an excuse to be blatantly sexual in appearance. I think it is fun and important that women feel permission and flexibility around their sexual expression. So often women are criticized if they "own" their sexuality, under their own terms. However, the Halloween emphasis on women presenting themselves as sexy objects generally isn't about sexual expression, but about appearing sexy to feel valuable.
Getting attention does feel good, but at what cost?

Does this concern and emphasis on women's bodies benefit women? Love Your Body Day was October 19, and is a national day to raise awareness around the depiction and representation of women's bodies in media. Love Your Body Day brings attention to the rate of eating disorders, the airbrushing that creates impossible standards in model images, and the fact that 80% of women are unhappy with their appearance when they look in the mirror. With so many media messages inform women that they should spend time and money purchasing products to be younger, prettier, thinner, or sexier, I'm surprised this percentage isn't higher.

So this October there is a lot to consider regarding women's bodies! Where do you stand regarding your appreciation and love for your own body? If you're looking for a boost in that area, check out one of my 
 recent blogs on body image that might help you out with your self lovin'.

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, Sex Therapy, Marriage Counseling, College Sex Education Speaker -- San Diego, CA