Being handsome or beautiful, thin, having white teeth and beautiful skin… The Being Beyond Appearance campaign, organized by the organization ÉquiLibre and taking place from June 10 to 14, invites us to become aware of the pressures to conform social standards of beauty.

Although the former No Makeup Day has enjoyed success since its creation in 2010, the non-profit organization ÉquiLibre, whose mission is to promote the development of a positive body image, wants to be more inclusive and has reformulated the title of his campaign. “The objective is the same: to make people think about the place we give to appearance, a place which is often disproportionate in our society. To be beyond appearance is to realize that appearance-related pressures are not limited to makeup, they include weight control, fashionable clothes, cosmetic surgery,” explains Andrée-Ann Dufour Bouchard, nutritionist and project manager at ÉquiLibre.

Actress and host Marie Soleil Dion, spokesperson for ÉquiLibre, believes that the mental space occupied by appearance is still too large in our daily lives, because beauty is not limited to the physical. “Our appearance should not define us, it is one of the elements that is part of us, but we have so many other characteristics, we have a personality, qualities, interests, passions, tastes, friends, and appearance is part of that package. We must try to give it less importance,” she believes. To convince yourself of this, we can ask ourselves what we appreciate in others. “Their appearance? Their skin ? Their body? No ! We appreciate our friends’ personality, their generosity, their sense of humor, that’s what we need to remember! “, she says.

According to a Léger survey commissioned by ÉquiLibre and carried out in 2023, 76% of Quebecers agree that the beauty standards conveyed in the media are unrealistic. Yet 29% of 18-34 year olds often or always feel pressure to look like beauty standards. “Even if we know that it is not realistic, we tend to want to look like this ideal of beauty: to have a muscular body, well-groomed hair, white teeth, young and smooth skin, even though it can harm to self-esteem and our well-being”, analyzes Andrée-Ann Dufour Bouchard.

The concept of beauty has evolved, but there is still a lot of work to raise awareness. “Fat-phobic prejudices are more denounced, as are inappropriate comments about weight, there is more body diversity, but the fact remains that the image represented in films, media and series has not evolved so much as That. She is still a young, thin, well-dressed person and that helps maintain the illusion of perfection,” notes Andrée-Ann Dufour Bouchard.

Social media also contributes to this obsession. “We are bombarded, on a daily basis, with retouched images where filters have been used and we want to resemble an image that does not exist,” laments Marie Soleil Dion. “And what’s more, we’re talking about cosmetic surgery and Botox earlier and earlier, from the age of 20,” she adds.

The Being Beyond Appearance campaign features the Sois-toi awareness video, about freeing yourself from the pressures linked to appearance by remaining yourself. It is also possible to listen to the episode of the podcast Betting on being rather than appearing: yes but how? where Marie Soleil Dion and psychologist Janick Coutu give their point of view on the issue of appearance.

“I’m 40 years old and I tell myself that young people need to free themselves from this pressure! Maybe we waste moments in our lives because we have this obsession with beauty, where we say to ourselves: oh I don’t feel handsome enough or beautiful enough? That’s way too much energy and time we spend on our appearance when we could be doing something else more productive! », concludes Marie Soleil Dion.