The Kite sisters share a message of improving body image

Lindsay and Lexie Kite are the co-founders of Beauty Redefined. The nonprofit strives to help women improve their body image.  (Matt Clayton)

Lindsay and Lexie Kite encouraged women to “see more” and “be more” on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. The Kite sisters spoke at BYU to promote positive body image and self confidence for women in coordination with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

The Kite sisters, who are identical twins and co-directors of Beauty Redefined, said they feel called to spread the message of positive body image to all walks of life. Beauty Redefined is a nonprofit organization that strives to  encourage men and women to “redefine the meaning and value of beauty in their lives,” according to their website.

They said they believe the first problem with society’s body ideal is in the media. They explained that according to the media, the ideal women has white skin, is tall and skinny, has no wrinkles or pores, etc.

“Media is begging all of society to believe that girls and women are first and foremost a compilation of parts, to be fixed. And only when those parts are fixed, do we qualify to be happy, to be loved, to be successful, to be healthy,” Lexie said.

Even African-American celebrities such as Queen Latifa are digitally and physically altered to fit the image. Lindsay showed a before and after photo of Latifa when she joined the industry and when she was on the front page of Covergirl. Her skin was digitally lightened, her hair was colored blonder and her eyes were even a couple of

Lindsay and Lexie Kite encourage women at BYU to improve self-body image. The Kite sisters speak all over the country to encourage positive reactions to negative body ideals. (Natalie Stoker)

shades brighter.

“This leads girls and women of color in this country to feel abnormal and to hate their skin color. And this pushes a multi-billion dollar skin-lightening market throughout the entire world because of the white ideals that we push,” Lindsay said.

The idea that women are just a bunch of parts waiting to be fixed is a term they called objectification. They explained three major reasons how objectification impacts people: (1) men also see the same skewed body image that women do, (2) women tend to judge other women which hurts human relationships and (3) all women, no matter the age, will face self-objectification which basically means a mental image of someone feeling like someone else is watching or judging them.

“It [self-objection] gets in the way of your health, your happiness, your progress and your well-being. If you’re thinking about your body in terms of only thinking how other people think, then you’re never going to feel good about yourself, ” Lexie said.

Being LDS, The Kite sisters offered some spiritual advice to combat the negative thoughts that make women feel unimportant. They explained that the gospel helps break down the chains of body anxiety, self objectification and shame. To validate this theory, they quoted Emmeline Wells, a well-known woman from church history.

“The gospel breaks forth the chains wherewith woman is bound, takes her by the hand and says, ‘Woman, know thyself,'” Wells said.

They further went on to explain how everyone has a comfort zone in their body image but when confrontation or disruption appears, women must rise through resilience, meaning they should respond in a positive way.

To explain how to face disruptions, they explained the four sources of power to rise through resilience:

  1. Mental might: This is the voice in everyone’s head that tells women how to think about their body and the bodies around them.
  2. Physical fortitude: Lindsay explained the importance of being physical and to let activity judge health, not a scale.
  3. Social skillfulness: Giving compliments can be easy when it is all about looks, they challenged the audience to give deeper compliments. For example, they said it’s the difference of saying “You LOOK amazing” and “You ARE amazing.”
  4. Spiritual strength: This isn’t only about religion, but it is about finding “a voice that doesn’t yell bad things about who we are,” Lindsay said.

“I want you to know that you have really important things to do…As you go through hard things, I hope you know from this point forward you have an opportunity,  responsibility even, to face disruptions in a way that can be resilient,” Lexie said.

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