Katie Drummond at True/Slant has an interview with Caitlin, the brains behind Operation Beautiful, which encourages women to leave encouraging notes for other women in public areas as a way to boost our collective self esteem.
Caitlin — whose idea is similar to the Dressing Room Project — started by taking a picture of a Post-It she left in her work bathroom that told the women after her that they were beautiful. She now encourages other women to send in the notes they leave for others in public places, like this one, left atop a women's magazine ad for cellulite cream.
Caitlin says that it doesn't just make others feel better about themselves, it helps the women leaving the notes as well.
People realize it makes them feel better - it can seem impossible to tell yourself you look beautiful, but it's easier to do it for someone else. And once you do it, I think it makes you rethink your own image, and maybe realize that you can look in the mirror and like what you see.
She thinks that women are harsher on their own bodies than they are on others', and hope that it can contribute to a real debate about what female beauty is.
I wish I knew why women were in this box, I really do. We have such narrow definitions for such a wide range of women. It means that we're setting up for failure - trying to attain an ideal that doesn't exist, and an idea of health that's different for every single body out there. Being healthy is person-by-person. You can't just box that into one ideal.
Caitlin hopes that by thinking outside that box — and posting those thoughts on mirrors — she can help women understand that living up to some external ideal isn't the only way for them to have self esteem.