May 23, 2013 — University of Utah doctoral candidates Lexie and Lindsay Kite have dedicated most of their college education to studying the stereotypes of beauty perpetuated by popular culture and its negative effects on women and girls. Wanting to make a difference in their area of study, the identical twin sisters launched Beauty Redefined in 2009, a campaign to help replace distorted ideals of body image with more positive concepts of beauty and wellness.
Through advocacy and education, the 27-year-old sisters deliver their message with doctoral level research to help women realize their value and worth are not based on their physical appearance. Lexie and Lindsay connect with girls and women across the country through speaking engagements, their website and their 13,000 followers on Facebook.
“From the moment we set out to share these positive messages, we have been overwhelmed with the excitement and support of people who say they are starving for this kind of uplifting and truthful information,” says Lexie Kite. “We know women are capable of much more than being looked at, and once they believe that message, they can move on to accomplishing so many happy and worthwhile pursuits.”
As kids, both Lexie and Lindsay struggled with their own image and were consumed with thoughts about their weight and appearance. While no one in their lives ever told them thinness and “ideal beauty” were the keys to happiness and success, they came to believe these messages from the magazines, TV shows and movies that surrounded them.
“As college freshmen studying journalism, we learned about the power of media messages and how they shape perceptions of reality and how much money is invested into making girls and women believe that beauty and thinness are the ultimate goal,” says Lindsay Kite. “We realized we had spent too much time believing lies about our appearance and worth, just like many of the women in our lives, and we decided to find a way to share this powerful information with the world.”
To strengthen their message, the sisters earned master’s degrees in communications from the University of Utah studying media and body image, and then continued on with their doctorates researching harmful media messages. The sisters are looking forward to defending their dissertations this summer and finalizing their 10-year college education, so they can dedicate their full attention to Beauty Redefined.