I'm Emi Howe and I created BodEquality. Like most young girls I experienced early pressure to be thinner, prettier, more beautified through the media, I also felt there was something wrong with that but couldn't express it.
I went on to do a degree in Sociology and started my working life with the U.K.'s biggest-selling young women's magazine. I learnt a lot from the inside but was soon disenchanted. I retrained and am now a body therapist and qualified teacher.
In 2012 I was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and have survived through various body adaptations. I have since experienced the corporate side of advertising again by appearing in two high-profile campaigns for M&S and Landrover.
During chemo and surgery recovery, I watched my body return to health time and time again. How it did this with very little support from me and I realised I owed it a lot. It totally flipped the way I view it. I needed to look after it.
To stop behaving like such a…
Newsflash! You actually need your body.
So I stopped battling with my body and wasting that time and energy. I’m now very clear about how the shift can vastly improve life, mental health, productivity and well… just the personal potential of the human race. Now where to start…
I founded BodEquality late 2017 and it provides a platform for us to talk openly about bodies and the issues that hold us back. It further seeks to redress the balance around bodies in modern culture. To highlight body bias and the personal and professional cost it incurs. I headed up a campaign in 2018, asking adverts to reflect reality through the bodies they use. It failed. I was told that’s not how changes are made. No matter how important or correct a change to advertising codes would be, it has to come from society first. To change the standard, first the culture must change.
We have no idea
I had gone deep into the research and information surrounding body image. I had made new friends and contacts doing great things – some of the best minds in the arena, and I knew we could enable wider access to it. Younger / school age generations are starting to get access to positive training around body image, but my generation and those before me are still under-informed, making a social shift much harder. Initially my motivation for creating courses for the workplace was simply to reach a wide and relevant audience. What I wasn’t expecting was for it to prove to be a profit indicator in their business too!
I ultimately learnt that largely individuals and employers have no idea the human cost a negative body image can have. This is because being negative about our bodies has become absorbed into modern culture as to be virtually invisible. We live simultaneously acknowledging the fakery of the media, while demanding the impossible of our bodies, with very little to rationalise the gap.
Why BodEquality? To fill the gap. And reduce the human loss and corporate cost of bad body image.