Jennifer Sanzo – also known as the Flower City Fashionista – is a blogger, freelance writer and editor, personal shopper and stylist.
After speaking candidly about her personal struggle with negative body image, Jennifer launched a campaign called #NoMoreLies. When unveiling her idea, Ms Sanzo told her following:
“Think about it: How many BILLIONS of dollars would be lost if every woman woke up tomorrow and believed that she was beautiful? That she wasn’t some work in progress, that her body wasn’t in constant need of improvement? Think about how much money is made by making women feel inferior.
We’re taught to never be happy – to never feel good about ourselves.
I’m telling you that it is a LIE. An ugly, greedy, manipulative lie. And I say enough is enough.”
*Grins like a maniac and does a Chandler style dance*
Understandably, since her empowering brainchild was born, she has had a hugely positive reaction.
I had the pleasure of speaking to this kick-ass lady about her campaign.
Hey Jennifer! How has 2015 been for you so far?
2015 has been great! #nomorelies is gaining traction. The story was picked up by local news media here in Rochester, NY. I’ve booked several guest speaking gigs, been asked to sit on committees for revising health curriculum in local school districts to include media literacy and the concept of body diversity. People are really responding to this message and it’s really inspiring.
What motivated you to start the #nomorelies campaign?
I really want to unite voices for change. I think there are tons of great organizations and movements out there, but sadly it’s 2015 and it’s still pocketed. It’s not widespread or even mainstream. It’s still controversial to talk about feminism and broadening our definition of beauty. It’s remarkable to me that our culture is more interested in a woman’s dress size than her achievements.
Why do you think it’s so important to have movements like this?
It raises awareness by uniting voices. Before social media there really wasn’t much in the way of alternative media. A hashtag is an easy way to get a conversation going and to allow multiple people, organizations, campaigns to use it and help spread their own messages. It drives awareness by getting the conversation going. Then once you understand the issue and what is at stake you can start to do something about it. I also think there is something to be said for more organic, grassroots movements like this – it’s driven by people and the needs of society – not printed by an organization or publication with an agenda.
What do you hope to achieve from its creation?
I want #nomorelies to be synonymous with the body positivity movement. I want to challenge narrow socially constructed ideas of beauty – and redefine them. I want to see a more diverse, real, and healthy portrayal of women in media. I want young girls to be educated in media literacy to learn how to spot toxic and unrealistic images. I want women to be valued for their hearts, and minds and contributions to society. I want businesses to stop capitalizing on our insecurities. I want to stop the lies. We are taught to never be happy, to never feel good about ourselves – all for someone else’s bottom line… and that needs to stop. So, yes, I want to bring awareness to this issue, but it can’t stop there. I want women to be a voice for change in their communities – to take one step past awareness to advocacy and fix this mess.
Have you ever had low body confidence?
Yes. I’ve struggled with it my whole life. Despite being able to objectively look in the mirror and say yes I am pretty, no I am not overweight – I still always want to be better… to be thinner… etc.
Do you feel like you’ve overcome those insecurities?
I don’t think I have. I’m trying to lose weight right now as I type this. Some might say that makes me a hypocrite. Some might say that gives me no authority to “preach” on the subject. I say it gives me more credibility… because I know how deep seated it is. I know that I am smart, beautiful, kind, and tenacious. I also know that I feel better about myself when I fit into my skinny jeans and I know that is INSANE. It’s a problem. And maybe I can’t fix it for me. Maybe I’ll always be watching my carbs and nibbling kale chips when I really want pizza… But maybe I can make a positive change so the little girl of tomorrow won’t feel the need to fit into some predetermined box – won’t agonize over some unattainable perfect image – because she’ll grow up in an inclusive society where her diversity is her greatest strength – where she is valued for WHO she is not what she looks like. That’s why I created #nomorelies. It’s not about me. It’s about her.
What was your favourite body positive news story from last year?
I loved dearkates.com response to Victoria’s Secret “The Perfect Body” campaign. They were so right, and courageous. Loved it!