Saturday, February 8, 2014

"The wondrous diversity of mindfulness practitioners"

Image courtesy of YouTube via Huffington Post.
In her piece at the Huffington Post the other day addressing "the mindfulness revolution," Carolyn Grigoire is obviously annoyed by Time Magazine's recent cover using a "beautiful, white, blond woman" to represent mindfulness practitioners.

Grigoire writes:

2014 has been called the "year of mindful living," and talk of a mindful revolution seems to be everywhere from Davos to Silicon Valley. Most recently, mindfulness was the subject of a controversial cover of TIME Magazine.

TIME's "Mindful Revolution" cover in January stirred up debate among the online mindfulness community, in part for featuring a beautiful, white blonde woman meditating on the cover. As some commentators pointed out, this wasn't the first time that the magazine has portrayed mindfulness this way: Its last cover on the "science of meditation" also featured an image of a beautiful white model.

"It's one thing to feature a young, fertile white girl on the cover of TIME and promote it as 'mindfulness,'" wrote Joanna Piacenza, web manager of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, in a HuffPost Religion blog post. "It's another to do it twice over the course of a decade."

It's undeniable that there is a mindful revolution going on, and that more people than ever before are embracing the well-documented physical and mental health benefits of meditation. But unfortunately, a homogenous representation of mindfulness practices isn't uncommon in the media -- especially in the case of yoga, which is often depicted by a thin white woman with a "Gwyneth Paltrow body." But the image of the serene, young white woman closing her eyes and breathing deeply doesn't come close to telling the whole story of how mindfulness is beginning to transform lives.

Despite the often-exclusionary media representation of mindfulness, the "mindful revolution" is spreading everywhere.

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