I’ve written a lot about body image lately. I do not know why but I just find it to be something that is essential to a lifestyle blog like my own. It’s important to tap in to and that’s why I wrote the following piece tonight.
4women asks the following question, “When you Look in the Mirror, do you Like what you see?” according to dosomething 40-50% of American women do not like what they see and 53% of thirteen year olds don’t either. They are therefore on a constant quest to loose weight. Every year, American citizens use over 40 billion dollars on diet-related products such as but not limited to: diet-pills, books and fitness DVD’s. The U.S. federal government also spends 40 billion dollars a year… But on Education! I am starting to feel like they should start educating young women about self-worth, body-image and the media because just like subjects such as Math are essential to a person’s success in the work force, so is the feeling of confidence and self-worth.
What makes a woman decide she wants to go on a diet? Health concerns? Not often. According to Newsweek most women diet due to social pressures. Women tend to compare themselves to others but who is to blame for all the comparisons? In my opinion, the media plays a huge role in making women compare themselves to other (often famous) women. I understand that the people of the media have a job to do and products to sell. However, it has become apparent that in today’s age, these products are targeted for women and they promote things that are unattainable. It’s simply all a clever trick: promote a product that illustrates what all women want such as cellulite free thighs and watch sales go up. Truth is, 98% of all women (supermodels included) have cellulite. Yet the media will cause a huge stir, when photos like the ones featured below surface.
It’s quite frankly disgusting and I hope that I am not the only one who is fed up.
“They call this fat?”
The most well known fact regarding the media is their use of computer software to alter the images in which they use. For example, a few months ago a huge stir was caused when photos of Kim Kardashian surfaced that showed her editorial featured in Complex Magazine had been altered and that she indeed does have cellulite. Like Ms. Kardashian said, “what curvy girl doesn’t?” and regardless of any of that, who can call that woman or her fellow celebrities like Jessica Simpson or Kate Winslet fat? The media scrutinizes these celebrities who are absolutely stunning and I just can’t imagine how the average 5’4”, 14o pound American woman must feel while reading headlines like that.
The pressure for American females begins at a young age. Researchers have found that popular toys like the Barbie doll would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel were she a real person. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition. Yet American children grow up idolizing that same Barbie while wishing they could be like her. Researchers also report that women’s magazines have ten and one-half times more ads and articles promoting weight loss than men’s magazines do, and over three-quarters of the covers of women’s magazines include at least one message about how to change a woman’s bodily appearance— usually by diet, exercise or cosmetic surgery not just make-up. With all of this bombardment, it is no wonder that women today feel constant pressure to pursue the ideal happiness of thinness. But when does it end?
Dove is actively campaigning for what they call “real” beauty in an effort to end negative body image. The online campaign features workshops, tools, tips, facts and words of encouragement. Dove is in my opinion the absolute leader in America in promoting healthy body image. You can visit the site here.
I hope you ladies take the time to carefully think about the way you feel about yourself. The issue of body image is complex and complicated. It is impossible to wake up every morning feeling like you look incredible but you can improve your feelings regarding your own self everyday with small steps. Campaigns such as the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty lends suggestions in how to take such steps. It’s about time that women around the world learn to love themselves despite the media’s constant bombardment that tells them to do otherwise. Every person regardless of their shape, size, color or traits is a beautiful individual!
If you or someone you know is struggling with body image issues please visit the following websites & take a look at the startling facts featured below:
8 Body Image Facts brought you by DoSomething.org
- Twenty years ago, models weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, they weigh 23% less than the average woman.
- The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.
- About 7% of 12th grade males have used steroids in order to become more muscular.
- If GI Joe were human, he’d have larger biceps than any bodybuilder in history.
- One out of every four college aged women has an eating disorder.
- Almost half of all women smokers smoke because they see it as the best way to control their weight. Of these women, 25% will die of a disease caused by smoking.
- In 2007, there were about 11.7 million cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. Ninety one percent of these were performed on women.
- A study found that 53% of thirteen-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.
Sources: www.media-awareness.ca, http://www.time.com, www.dosomething.org, www.campaignforrealbeauty.com, www.starmagazine.com, www.dove.com, www.statenews.com, aol.com