Help me write my next book: The BEYOND BEAUTY body confidence survey
Today is let-the-cat-out-of-the-bag day! I have two… well actually three… big news for you!
- The Curated Closet Workbook will be released in a paperback format on September 18th this year. It contains worksheets, tables and checklists for every exercise in the book, plus a bunch of bonus planners (that also weren’t in the digital workbook). The workbook will also be released in German – even before the English version – on March 12th (link here). Both workbooks are still in the making so I can’t show them to you just yet, but I’ll post pictures as soon as I can. As of now, the digital version of the workbook is no longer available.
- I can finally tell you what my next book will be about.
- I need your help to write it!
The working title (meaning it will probably change a hundred more times before the release date) is:
Beyond Beauty: A practical guide to body confidence in the social media era
Yep, body confidence – a complex and for most women (including myself) a hugely personal topic.
I decided that that's what I need to write about next pretty soon after The Curated Closet came out. I had gotten lots of lovely messages from readers telling me how the steps in the book were working for them, and because the way we feel about our clothes is so tied to the way we feel about our looks, many of these women also told me about their body: about not feeling skinny, curvy, pretty or young enough and about how social media had upped the pressure even more.
The more I thought and read about it, the more I understood just how massive the impact is that body image issues have on women's lives. And I'm not even talking about the super serious stuff that low confidence is a risk factor for, like eating disorders, depression or body dysmorphic disorder. I mean all of the everyday things we do and feel because we were socialized to believe that our value is directly related to our appearance. Things like:
- Not being able to enjoy a night out with your friends because you're worried about how you look.
- Feeling stressed whenever someone with a camera approaches.
- Dreading your next birthday because you know it’s all downhill from there.
- Pushing yourself to complete your beauty routine even when it feels like a chore.
- Feeling like your ability to find or keep love depends on your ability to stick to your diet.
- Not going after a work opportunity to speak in public because you feel too self-conscious.
- Feeling inhibited during sex.
- Trying one diet/beauty treatment/workout routine after another in the hopes of finally finding the magic bullet that's going to make you feel good about yourself.
- Declining an invitation to spend a day at the beach because you don't want people to see you in a bikini.
- Having your day ruined by one bad photo that someone tagged you in.
- Staring past full-length mirrors to avoid being confronted with your body.
- Feeling like your weight is the main factor that's keeping you from being happy.
Imagine all the energy, time and even money you would save if you suddenly felt fine about the way you look, and all the stuff you could with it instead!
Of course, the fact that body image is a big problem is not a secret. Everyone from feminist blogs to Hollywood actresses and even fashion magazines are talking about our society’s unrealistic beauty ideals and the huge pressure that is put on women to fit that mould these days. But I noticed that there's one thing nobody talks about: a solution. Sure, we know what needs to happen at a systemic level and how the media, fashion brands and movie executives could improve the whole situation.
But is there nothing women can do themselves to boost their body confidence and deal with the daily flood of picture-perfection on their screens? Anything besides wishy-washy calls to „just love yourself“? Because, I don't know about you, but I've never understood how exactly that is supposed to work. I need something more concrete than that.
About a year ago I told my publisher that I wanted to write a practical book about body image but that I couldn't tell them exactly what I'd write about yet. All I knew is what questions I wanted the book to answer. Questions like:
- How am I ever supposed to feel good about myself when my culture is making it impossible?
- How can I stop feeling like an unhealthy slob whenever I scroll through my Instagram feed?
- How do I get over my fear of looking older?
- Should I get lip fillers to improve my confidence?
- How do I find the confidence to wear less make up/stop shaving/wear what I want?
- What's the best way to deal with body-shaming?
- How can I help my daughter grow up with a healthy body image?
Fortunately, my publisher took a leap of faith and so I got to spend the last year talking to some of the smartest people out there – psychologists, sociologists, media experts and experts for women's studies, confidence coaches and dieticians – and reading everything there is to read about body image, to see if I could find concrete, applicable advice for people (like me and pretty much every single woman I know), who feel like their insecurities are keeping them from living their best life. Spoiler alert: I did find a ton of helpful strategies and I cannot wait to share them with you!
The Beyond Beauty Survey
Here’s where I need your help:
To make sure the book reflects a diverse spectrum of experiences, I want to include as many different voices as possible in the form of quotes throughout the book (my inspiration for this is the wonderful anthology Women in Clothes - review here)
If you want to contribute, simply fill out this survey to share your own thoughts and stories. Feel free to answer in as much detail as you like and skip any questions that you don't feel comfortable answering. I am grateful for every contribution!
If one of your quotes makes it into the book, I will send you your own personal copy fresh off the printers (you’ll get it way before the official release date in Spring 2019).
Your answers will remain 100% anonymous: your name, age, address or anything else that could identify you will not be included in the book. I will ask you for your email address at the end of the survey, but only for the sole purpose of getting your mailing address should your quote be selected for the book.
This survey will stay up until the 15th of March. If you have any questions, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much in advance!