Friday, March 21, 2014

Body Image

I don't think I've written about this topic, partly because I am a little nervous about writing it. I think people assume that because I am thin I don't have to worry or I don't think about body image. This isn't true. I do think about my body image, more often than I would like. I'm sure other women feel the same way. A lot of this thinking is a result of the media and things I see online or in magazines (I don't really read magazines, but you all know what I mean). I am ashamed to say that those things get to me...however, I know I am not the only one. I wanted to talk about this because of the recent target model incident. Poor photoshopping of a girl who was already beautiful is just terrible. That really upset me because Target is one of my favorite stores, I didn't think they would do something like that.There have been other incidents as well such as Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO and how he didn't want "fat" or "uncool" people to wear his clothes.

When you walk into most clothing stores (especially stores aimed toward teenagers and young adults) you see photos of thin models and "thigh gaps". Now, not every store is this way and there are of course exceptions. But the point is a lot of them are thinner, and I think sometimes it gives girls/women an unrealistic expectation/view of what their body should look like. I'm not saying that being thin is bad, because it's not. I'm just saying that media puts too much stock into outer beauty.

I recently read an article about this issue. I really liked this quote (excuse the slight language):
 "I’m not the only one who feels the pressure to be the “perfect size.” But what IS the perfect size? Is it a size zero? Is it a slightly curvy size five? Is being tall especially attractive, or is it cuter to be shorter? Would a high-waist skirt look good on me, or will people think my a** looks huge? Is a huge a** a good thing or bad thing? I’m 23 and I’m still not completely happy with my body, and I’m not sure why. I’m at a healthy weight, I eat proteins and produce and I exercise. Is it because of the media, or is it because as young girls we are taught by people we know that we need to look a certain way? Did our parents pressure us to eat less? Did bullies call us names and ostracize us on the playground? Body image is a complex subject, and simply saying “all women want to be thin” is not a universal truth, and it’s a brash conclusion."

I totally agreed with her, and I'm not trying to say that being skinny is a problem because it's not. I just don't appreciate stores that over-use photoshop and only use very skinny models. Right now American Eagle is using a campaign for their Aerie collection called "The Real You" (link). I thought that was really awesome of them to get models that have regular bodies. It's a step in the right direction for media and I hope other stores and other forms of media follow suit.

It doesn't matter if you're a size 0 or a size 16. As long as you are healthy then you're just fine. Beauty doesn't stop at a certain weight or height. I hope I didn't offend anyone with anything I said, I just feel like it's something that should be talked about. Especially when it comes to younger girls who are just getting a feel for their bodies. They need to know that just because they see a model at a store or in a magazine that is skinnier than they are doesn't mean they aren't beautiful.


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