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Campaign held to promote self-confidence among Vietnamese youth

Saturday, March 02, 2019, 11:02 GMT+7
Campaign held to promote self-confidence among Vietnamese youth
An animated poster of the campaign. Photo: Moc Khoe Sac

A local non-profit organization has recently launched a campaign aimed at curbing body shaming and helping Vietnamese youth develop a positive self-image.

The movement is the second campaign to be launched by Moc Khoe Sac since its establishment in 2016.

As the beauty standard in Vietnam has long focused on outward appearances, body shaming is essentially assured for individuals who fail to meet the local criteria for what is considered ‘beautiful.’

Moc Khoe Sac’s campaign aims to encourage the spread of body-positive messaging rather than criticism based on outward appearances.

Body shaming is a kind of bullying aimed at attacking a victims’ outward appearance. In turn, victims often suffer mental breakdowns, stress, identity crises, and even suicidal thoughts.

While the issue of body shaming has been scrutinized in the past, Moc Khoe Sac is the first to address it on a national scale in Vietnam, in the hope of encouraging young people to pluck up enough courage to share their own body shaming experience with others.

Young people from all walks of life were invited to share their personal stories of self-preservation in the face of such adversity during sessions held by Moc Khoe Sac.

Yen Ngoc was one of these brave youths.

Ngoc, from the south-central province of Ninh Thuan, is of Chinese origin. For as long as she can remember she’s been attacked with nicknames such as “braced fatty” or “mammoth girl”. 

She chose to share her story at a recent Moc Khoe Sac event in the hope it would inspire people to rise above the negativity.

Cosmetics blogger Van Miu is another victim who chose to share her story.

Van Miu first founded her blog to deliver make-up advice, but pretty quickly found that bullies thrive behind the safety of their keyboards.  It wasn’t long after she began posting her videos that she began being criticized for an “unbalanced” and “unnatural” appearance. 

For model Nha Truc, there was no escape from body shammers.  When she found herself being bullied because she only weighed 35kg, she did her best to gain weight.  Eventually she hit 80kg and found herself being ridiculed for that as well.

Moc Khoe Sac team members are seen in this photo on their website.
Moc Khoe Sac team members are seen in this photo on their website.

Though all three girls were body shammed for different reasons, their stories all have a common theme: perseverance. 

“No matter how hard you try, someone will still try to discourage you,” Truc stated.

All Moc Khoe Sac participants agreed that body shaming can come in many form, and none of them are worth any attention.

Together they urged others to wholly ignore negativity and not allow it to affect their lives.

Nguyen Van Quan was a disabled attendee at a Moc Khoe Sac session.

With both his legs amputated, Quan has spent a chunk of his life being called names like “deformed evil”, or “legless guy”.

But such accusations only fuel his desire to keep rise above negativity.  In his mind, he is “handicapped, but not disabled”.

Once, when a relative denounced him as “deformed” because he lost in a Chinese chess match, Quan spent hours practicing until he was able to easily win in a rematch.

Through many hardships, Quan, like his peers, was admitted to university, and found the love of his life.

“I want to prove that it is the sheer will that matters, not the appearance,” Quan affirmed.

Moc Khoe Sac, roughly translating to “Plain Beauty”, is an NPO founded in 2016 with the aim of promoting the true beauty of middle-aged Vietnamese women, as well as raise youth self-assurance and preservation throughout the country.

The organization attracts lots of positive feedback from society and currently works in cooperation with national channel VTV3 to spread its message.

Prior to the anti-body shaming campaign, Moc Khoe Sac launched a program to assist Vietnamese women in maintaining their beauty against the test of time.

So far, the Moc Khoe Sac campaign has made stops in more than 21 cities and provinces across the country.

This year, Moc Khoe Sac plans to hold discussions and workshops on derailing body shaming and catcalling behaviors at five prominent universities in Ho Chi Minh City: Ton Duc Thang University, HUTECH, Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City, HUFLIT, and Open University.

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