How three girls and a hashtag are redefining what it means to look “perfect”

We might remember 2014 as the year that body image, (finally) really truly entered the mainstream conversation. Together we’ve hashed out the finer nuances of photoshop, sung along gleefully with “All About That Bass,” and gotten into the nitty gritty of body image and advertising — parsing out every misstep, like the Victoria’s Secret “Perfect Body” campaign, and every triumph, like Aerie’s new lingerie ads. Now, a group of women at Stetson University have used this momentum to continue the conversation with a campaign to take back their images in the media: their movement is called #redefineperfect.

#redefineperfect is active on Instagram and Tumblr, and its goal is to, as the mission states, “challenge, confront, and resist beauty standards, body standards, and unrealistic ideals of perfection.” The movement was started by Aaliyah Gray, Meagan Manning, and Taylor Milenkovic, three students at Stetson University, as a project for their visual communications class, but the women are hoping to make #redefineperfect so much more.

Gray, Manning, and Milenkovic are all sophomores at Stetson, and each agree that “Perfection is in the little things.” They also agree that as used, the goal of physical perfection gets women to invest millions in beauty products and treatments, all in search of an ideal and entirely unrealistic image. #redefineperfect reminds women that they’re not defined by what they look like. They’re perfect for who they are.

“The aim is to spread the word.” Manning told Hello Giggles in an interview last week. The girls were inspired to start this conversation due to the prevalent and impossible beauty standards that permeate everything from our Instagrams to our Netflix binging. They wanted to reclaim what it means to be beautiful, and what it means to be perfect. Their project is already taking hold on other college campuses and they’re receiving photo submissions coming in from women at other schools.

“We wanted to focus on more than just weight with this campaign,” explained Gray. “Weight gets a lot of focus online and in the media, but we wanted to show more. Scars, freckles, skin color. Everything.”

The movement isn’t just limited to women. Several of the pictures posted include men sharing their voice and taking a stand against unfair body expectations.

If you want to be included in #redefineperfect, the women are asking that you take a selfie and either submit it to their Tumblr blog: or post it yourself with the hashtag attached.

Let’s get the Internet talking about a new standard of perfection. Let’s show our stretch marks, our freckles, our unbrushed hair. Let’s tell the media that we’re done living by their standards of perfection. We’re perfect just the way we are. Every scar is a story, and who is more perfect at being us than us?

[Images via]

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