Body Image 911

While I am passionate about focusing on wellness, nutrition, health and yoga, I am overwhelmed by some truly troubling body image messages I’ve been noticing as of late.

I fear that those key components I listed, and the components that I intended for this blog to be about, are so devalued by our society that they’re almost lost beneath some superficial film of vanity.

If you would like to take a moment to read the following article, it is really eye-opening:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/09/ashley-judd-slaps-media-in-the-face-for-speculation-over-her-puffy-appearance.html

This is outrageous. Judd’s responses, however, are outstanding. I am floored by her calm, composed address, and pure intellectual capacity.
 
I had already been thinking a LOT lately about body image, so when I read this article I figured this was like a “Body Image 911” moment. I’ve been noticing, much more than ever before, how “messed up” (substituting Judd’s euphemism for the more than earned “f word” again) society’s messages are. There are ENDLESS signs, signals, and messages – both blatant as well as masked – that preach skinny equals winning. Messages shouting that a nearly gaunt physique reflects a successful female. Not successful as in business-successful, but successful in terms of the female gender. Whether it’s in high school, college, twenties, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, middle-age, menopause, retirement…the expectation seems to be clear cut – women must be able to maintain or immediately regain a shockingly thin appearance in order to fit society’s standards of successful physical womanhood. If you are reading this and completely disagreeing, then I am overjoyed. Because most of my generation will surely read this and nod emphatically. I read another article today on “mommyrexia” (here is yet another I found, while trying to relocate the original to share with you, which is equally disturbing and informative:)
 
It’s BIZARRE. The original “mommyrexia” article today that made some sort of statement along the lines of, “the emaciated frames strutting around NYC that turn the heads of the most shallow men,” and it just about made me hurl. I literally want to pick up and move to a planet where there is no media, no horrific expectation that women place on other women to be walking skeletons, and the seemingly inescapable GARBAGE that is constantly showered on women and men alike. Especially women. I am so afraid for the girls of the future, and so sad for myself and my peers. 
I think of my favorite yoga instructor Kathryn Budig who, while very toned and slender, is a real woman in a real body. Yeah, you can see her ribcage and bone structure in the midst of yoga poses (and the fact that I’m looking for them speaks volumes about how the media has marketed razor sharp hipbones and visible ribs as desirable)…but she is muscle, she is strength…she is a writer, a foodie, a yogi. Her essence lies far beneath her outer image, which also happens to be stunning.
I also saw a blurb about the struggle Portia De Rossi had with anorexia and again, I was so sad seeing comments below from people saying, “if you think anorexia is a DISEASE you are uneducated.” You, sir, are the one who is ignorant and uneducated in having left that comment.
I feel COMPELLED to now put my writing to work and do all that I can to help reconstruct the precious topic of body image for my generation and, more importantly, for posterity. 
 
 
At 23 I admit I feel pretty darn vain, or at least a lot more vain than I wish I were. My generation seems to be doomed with an insatiable satisfaction towards our own appearance – from my hair, to my skin, to my body, to my hands and feet for crying out loud, the moment is rare when I feel satisfaction on all fronts. How annoying, right? I mean, I have two legs that work. I have eyes that see, ears that hear, a heart that beats…and beyond that, I have a college education, athletic ability, desires and passions, intelligence, interests…! And on top of that, because I am happy beneath the surface, is a surface that’s not too shabby looking. So now, with English degree and my own teenage years under my belt, mixed with my passion for life and for being female, I embark on a journey to hopefully make the world we live in more positive for girls of all ages and for future generations.
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