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April 2, 2013

'Empowering Women -- Body Image' in spotlight for YWCA

NEWBURYPORT — “Empowering Women — Body Image: The Impact On Us All” is the theme for the YWCA Greater Newburyport’s Fourth Annual Engaging Communities Luncheon to be held Wednesday, April 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Elks Club on Low Street in Newburyport.

Author and filmmaker Jean Kilbourne will be the featured speaker. In addition, Fox 25 News anchor and experienced broadcast journalist Maria Stephanos will act as honorary chairwoman of the event and host the luncheon.

Since the turn of the century the YWCA Greater Newburyport has provided a safe place for women and girls of Greater Newburyport, helping them grow into strong leaders. In the 21st century, that mission has never been more important or needed, as future generations increasingly take on roles designated for them through an endless stream of information and images readily available via technology.

Kilbourne has spent decades studying and lecturing on the way images and messages in the media contribute directly to social epidemics that affect women and men alike. Her presentation, “The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women,” exposes some of the surprisingly harmful messages disseminated to young girls, and boys, for the purpose of selling products, and explains how they are jeopardizing the healthy growth of the next generation.

“After listening to Jeanne Kilbourne, I became much more critical in the manner in which I observed the portrayal of women in advertising,” said John Feehan, executive director of YWCA Greater Newburyport. “I came to realize that many of the images are contrary to my belief system.

“This year’s luncheon will not only provide valuable information regarding how these messages about women and men are presented in the media, but will also provide an opportunity to discuss new ways of looking at oneself and others so that we can better raise respectful, confident young women and men.”

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