Illustration for article titled ‘Operation Beautiful’: Corny, Yet Critical

Little girls are starting to diet at age 8.

That was the first thing that caught my attention this a.m. as I was half-listening to the Today show. I suddenly felt aggrieved. Age 8 means unicorns, rainbows, Barbie dolls and a closet full of pink dresses, pink jeans and pink sneakers.


I rarely curse, but when I heard that I swung around in my chair and let fly a Whoopi Goldberg-like What in the hell?!

The topic was Operation Beautiful. Not sure if the link is back up and running, because I’m pretty sure people like me who tried to access the site during the segment caused the servers to crash. Blogger Caitlin Boyle, the website’s editor, was on Today promoting the Operation Beautiful book, which was released Tuesday.

First, I’ll share the great story behind the website’s founding, then tell you about “Fat Talk Free Week 2010,” which isn’t supposed to sound hilarious, but because my sense of humor is a little twisted, it is. Here’s info about Boyle:

Tired of watching women pick themselves apart in front of the mirror, blogger Caitlin Boyle scribbled a note on a Post-it: "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!" and slapped it on the mirror of a public bathroom. With one small act, she kick-started a movement. In a matter of days, women were undertaking their own feats of resistance, posting uplifting notes on gym lockers, diet shakes in supermarkets, weight-loss guides in bookstores, and anywhere else a nagging voice of self-criticism might lurk. Emboldening and contagious, the "operation" has attracted widespread attention from the media, including the Oprah Winfrey Network, the New York Daily News and 


Operation Beautiful showcases the notes women have posted around the world and the stories behind them, along with interviews, interesting research findings, and tips for improving one’s outlook on life. Blending a confessional tone with gutsy observations about redefining beauty, the chapters address key issues for women of all ages, including Fighting Fat Talk, Family and Friends, Food, Fitness, Faith, and Going Forward. In the scrapbook tradition of PostSecret and Davy Rothbart’s Found, Operation Beautiful is filled with black-and-white photos and a two-color design, making it the perfect gift for any friend, sister, daughter, or niece.

I am impressed.

And I also have an impressive collection of Post-It notes. It’s about to grow a bit more, because I’m going to take advantage of all these back-to-school sales and arm myself with some extra-cool ones just to smack on mirrors all over town.


About Fat Talk Free Week 2010: You’re supposed to sign a pledge that you won’t “fat talk” at all during the week of October 19-25, “and hopefully never again!”

I dunno. “Fat talk” is a national pastime among women. That’s all some people have in common. Me, I’m all for a ban.


There are actually comments on the site criticizing this whole effort. Can’t say I’m surprised; some people are determined to knock random acts of kindness like this, calling them simplistic, juvenile, etc. If you’re one of those people, leave your comment below.

I’ve got a Post-It note just for you.

The point is that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. You are enough… just the way you are!   ~  Caitlin Boyle


Visit the "Less Leslie" Facebook page for more info and comments!

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter