Outdoor advertising in Italy has just become more of a challenge. The Be Youself Movement, a group of guerilla street artists, has been taking to billboards in Milan and Rome with spray cans, paper, glue and cutter, posting alternative messages with a healthy dose of creativity and self-esteem. The anonymous network, online at www.beyourselfmovement.com and Facebook, is challenging the messages relating to norms of beauty and social acceptability with messages such as “Stop listening to these ads”, “Stop trying to be someone you are not”, “Be stupid as these ads”. Downloadable customizer designs include wigs, glasses, eyes and moustaches.
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The online manifesto challenges the way in which a generation thoughtlessly responds to collective thought control. “From merry-go-round to media circus, from stereotypical housewife to bulimic-anorexic beauty, from advertising to socially-imposed mores. In an increasingly invasive and arrogant way, we suffer a daily bombardment of messages that aim to impose upon us one collective thought, one way of being and living and one appearance.”
We’re tired of feeling like numbers, of our generation being seen as a target and of our behaviour being measured as a market trend.
We believe in and promote the development of an individual and collective critical conscience and we aim for it to be respected.
We believe it is necessary to free our and future generations from self-constraining life and beauty stereotypes.
We refuse to accept socio-cultural imposition, the standardisation of the individual and the proliferation of one ideology.
We believe in plump Prince Charmings and in well-nourished princesses.
We believe it’s much better to live life in the way one wants rather than fitting into someone else’s model.
We believe that physical differences and imperfections are positive symbols of individual uniqueness.
We believe in accepting people for what and who they are without discrimination.
We believe in freedom of expression, constructive criticism and the democracy of communication.
We believe it’s time to stand up and creatively claim our right not to be standardised.