Student Photographer Starts Awareness Campaign

Karen Christensen

I had just ended a 5-year relationship, moved out of the home I believed to symbolize my secured partnership for life, had no money to speak of, and gained 10 pounds. Forget about self-discovery and self-actualization, I was just shooting for some renewed self-esteem.

That’s when it occurred to me that the hurt I was feeling was a luxury. The curse of having a pretty damn good life: I was healthy, I was free, I was educated and I was provided for. But before falling down the slippery slope of feeling guilty for my negative self-talk and persisting temptations of a past eating disorder, I thought maybe I’m not entirely to blame for this self-imposed hurt? And if so, what can I do about it?

“Stop the Hurt” is a mixed-media campaign to raise awareness and mobilize change regarding women’s low self-esteem and the patriarchal, capitalistic, media-crazed society that profits from it. It examines how women in the United States who seemingly have it all, or could, institute hurt against themselves, manifesting in disordered eating, self-harm (featured here), and addiction because it is what they are socially conditioned to do. Featuring medical experts and experienced subjects in artistic portraiture, videography, and song, “Stop the Hurt” challenges individuals to take a stand in the fight to end women’s low self-esteem and to save the future of young girls.

If you or someone you know suffers from or has overcome disordered eating, self-harm, addiction, or some other manifestation of low self-esteem contact Karen Christensen at kchristensenphotos@gmail.com. Anonymous participants will be accepted and protected, as well as those who want to gain strength through their story’s full disclosure.