Have you ever noticed those health adds that make promises to look thinner and feel better accompanied by incredibly, almost unhealthy, skinny women and ripped men having fun and looking like they have it all together? Why? Why do advertisers do this!? They are so far removed from the actual real public that does not look or feel like this. For the majority of us, we are a size 14-18. We are hard working people who are struggling just to pay our rent, feed our children and clinging to our sanity and our health. When you see images in Health Magazines, it’s usually the same type of body, young, super thin, blond and the same expression on their face. I’ve always wondered why they have that same look on their face, and I figured it out. He or She must be either starving or constipated. I mean, I get hangry when I haven’t eaten in 2-4 hours, they must be uber hangry. When I see these images do I think, why yes! I want to look exactly like that. No, because I know I won’t ever ever EVER look like that. It’s not genetically possible. A little secret, I like to keep a box of Twinkies in my pantry so when Oscar time rolls around I throw them at the T.V. (still in the wrappers) and scream “Here! You look hungry!”.
I remember reading an article in a Yoga Magazine about the benefits of Yoga for beginners. The woman they portrayed was doing an asana (position) that any normal woman who isn’t yet regularly practicing could never get herself into and as just like the nose on your face, you could see her rib bones sticking up. HOW is this healthy? HOW is this illustrating the benefits? Real women have curves, we are soft in the middle, we have stretch marks from giving life, we age gracefully, and for me in particular, we struggle just to get up gracefully off up from her mat. We also work way to hard to fit into what some corporate sycophant has deemed “acceptable” and for what? Who are they trying to gain acceptance from? Certainly not the general public. Because frankly, I’m not impressed.
For me personally, portraying images of the opposite of what the majority of their readers are is a subtle yet aggressive tactic to promote body shaming. These images are not the ideal women or man. Just because you have the ideal body doesn’t mean you are healthy. I know plenty of men and women who are what society have deemed as “ideal weight” or look healthy but who are more unhealthy and sick than those who may have a few extra pounds and you know what, those of us with a little extra meat on our bones, there are more of us out there than they would like you to think. I also know men and women who are healthy and thin yet are in a constant battle because they don’t fit to what society has deemed as “fit” or “ripped”.
It is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease but have you ever noticed that when those who yell and force ideals onto others most likely are not liking something about themselves much much more than you don’t like something about yourself? When someone says “You’re not this or that” it’s sometimes accompanied by a wiggling or pointing finger. Ever notice that when that finger is pointing or wiggling at you there’s a thumb involved. Next time it happens to you, notice, where is that thumb pointing? I can tell you right now it’s not you.
To be clear: I am fully aware that I may come off as biased. And I do acknowledge that I may just be in the same category of those who judge body image. I also know that making fun of or pointing out the faults of others is hurtful. This is not my intention. The only story I know is my own and everyone has their own story and struggle and I hear that and I have mad respect for those who share and struggle and will not allow their own insecurities rule them and work on themselves on a regular basis. But my hearing stops when those who aren’t willing to listen and really hear what the majority of the general public look and feel like and want from those who frankly only tell a portion of the story only see the surface of someone’s body, not their soul.
I guess what I would like you to understand, dear reader, is go forth and you do you. When you start to truly get what you are about and honor the body you have inside and out you’ll notice a shift in self-acceptance and honor of the self. It’s when we have that and do not allow the constructs of what society has declared acceptable to be accepted as law but with a grain or two of salt.