The creator of the Love Your Body Summit this weekend wants to help girls and women gain more self-esteem about their body image through art and music.

Musician and artist Joyelle Brandt, who lived through sexual abuse herself as a child, created the summit by inviting speakers and artists to push back against the ideals of beauty portrayed in media.

"I know when I can sit down and write something into a song or create a piece of art about it, that can help me get a little bit of distance and understanding about what I'm going through," she said.

"I really believe the arts are the most powerful tool for personal change that exist."

Girls struggle with confidence earlier in life than ever as the media becomes more saturated with "half-naked women," she said. Self-esteem peaks at age nine for girls nowadays and plummets during the pre-teen years according to Brandt.

A personal journey

Brandt says living through sexual abuse and street harassment taught her a few things.

"With most abuse survivors, there's this element of feeling that somehow they were responsible for what happened to them," she said.

"It was a long process and actually only a few years ago that I finally got to a place where I felt really good when I looked in a mirror and realized that I had shifted from constantly attacking myself to being able to appreciate the things that I love about my body."

Brandt wants girls to know two things when it comes to self-confidence:

"When you see something that you don't agree with, with the way women are portrayed in the media, speak up — say something."

"Know that you have so much more value than your reflection in the mirror."

The Love Your Body Summit happens on Saturday at the Inlet theatre in Port Moody.

People can buy tickets here.


To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: Love Your Body Summit for women and girls.