It's a gripe akin to my disdain for poor manners on public transport, or realizing that my favourite new piece of cream-hued clothing has been tainted by a whopping great foundation stain. It's the headlines that frequently litter the newstands, but in all honesty, it exists within my daily social encounters, too. ''MISCHA BARTON'S EXPSLOSIVE WEIGHT GAIN!'', the magazines scream. ''Therese Rein NEEDS A STYLIST!'', newspapers insist. It's the celebrity gossip websites that report on each and every pound or kilo ceremoniously gained or dropped by the latest 'it' girl, or the ex co-worker you bump into on the street who, after pausing to review you from head to toe, utters ''wow. You've gained weight, haven't you?'' (Honestly, who ASKS that?!)
It's society's obsession with weight, and personally, I think it's NONSENSE. At what point did we decide, or let the media dictate to us, that the size that appears on the back of our jeans should detract from our unique, amazing abilities as individuals?! When did it become conversational currency to observe out loud that a 21 year-old adult is no longer the same size/shape that they were at 16? Why (in the case of the aforementioned Therese Rein) should the Australian prime minister's wife, who is an educated, intelligent and successful business woman, donating to charity and regularly assisting with volunteer work, be looked upon disapprovingly by the weekly tabloids because they dislike the cut of her skirt? It's negative, it's nonsense, and it's pointless, and the exact sort of behaviour that causes some of my closest friends (and in the past, myself) to lament the abscence of Kate Moss thighs.
I'll be the first to admit that my perception of my own body isn't perfect. I'll sometimes snarl at my crooked teeth in the mirror, or imagine how a clingy wardrobe number would sit better if pizza wasn't one of my favourite foods. But for the most part, I'm exhausted by self-punishment, and have committed to appreciating the figure I have today. I've promised myself that if I feel unhealthy, I'll exercise, or that if my nutrition is poor, to substitute it with foods that are only positive for my wellbeing. But if I feel inclined to eat a decadent dessert, I'm not going to chastise myself and I'm certainly not going to despair over the fact that I can no longer wear my size small pieces from Supre` from my teenage years. What's more important to me now is the quality of my life, and this can't be diminished or improved by a number.
We are all beautiful, talented, creative, and possess gifts unlike anyone else in which we can deliver to the world. If we're unsatisfied with an aspect of ourselves, we all have the incredible ability to modify this, but truly? We're all perfect exactly as we are, and comments from strangers, glossy publications or society's ideals should never be the origins of any thoughts of inadequacy!
(Image thanks to Kaiya215.)
This is such a wonderful article. I wish we saw more pieces like this in womens' magazines.
yay! im a huge advocate for changing the way media adresses body issues. its disgusting. i can't stand the headlines of gossip magazines and yet they are always the biggest sellers "sexiest new bodies" or whatever. its absurd.
Oh Amen! Men don't ever seem to be scrutinized like this! I mean, John Travolta doesn't have the lean physique that he had in his dancing days, but that's ok, because he's a man, and men are allowed to age/gain weight/be human.
Fiend makes a great point too- why, despite a womans success, brains, achievements, talent or compassion, are their arses still the only "thing" about them receiving the attention?!!! Sexism is still alive and kicking! That's why I don't buy those magazines.
It's funny, but I was browsing a blog the other day, and read a post titled " Sexist Vintage ads." I was amazed at them! But then even more amazed at the sidebar ad, which featured a buxom woman with her boobs thrust forward provocatively, with the accompanying caption: "enter here, my lord" WTF?! Irony much?!
We really do live in a VERY superficial society, and I hate how the media tries to dictate what is attractive/unattractive. But I guess that beauty/cosmetic companies largely make their money from womens insecurities, so popular magazines will probably not probably not be making changes anytime soon! I think if you're healthy, then that should be enough.
Great article, and positive, thought provoking words!
I definitely hear what you're saying. It's all become too much!
However, I do think that people need to be healthy. There are a lot of people at the moment with serious health issues because of carrying too much weight. It should not be for looks, or because of how celebrities look - it should be for health reasons that weight is discussed.
In saying that, my latest post reveals my weight loss, and now I'm toning up for my summer abroad. But NOT so that I look like Kate Moss :)
You KNOW I agree with this post, and wholeheartedly. And while I agree that starting with ourselves is important, and learning to appreciate the bodies we've GOT is vital ... I continually wonder what needs to shift for the media to see that embracing physical diversity is important, desired, beneficial to all.
Gosh! I am ridiculously chuffed by all of your feedback.. thank-you IMMENSELY, and I'm so thrilled to hear that there's others who feel exactly the same way! It's definitely time for a body image portrayal overhaul.
36D - A-HA! I knew somebody would ask that very thing! Thank-you very much for your question, the reason why I chose the image was because in the picture, Dita's viewing an illustrated vision of herself, but from another perspective.. I thought that related to the message I was trying to create, about how we perceive ourselves!
Great article but why put a picture of Dita Von Teese up there? She's just as unrealistic as any other model people are killing themselves to try and emulate.
LOVE IT! It's exactly those kinds of media (and personal) biases that keep us from coming together as women (and people in general). We have to learn to appreciate everything about someone, not just the way they present themselves. Be healthy, be happy.
Your posts just keep getting better and better.
Agreed lady...I refuse to give up my 20-something years to a regimen of self loathing that I"ll regret later. I like this positive body image writing, I'd love to see more of it from you!
Well said Corrine. Don't worry, I always have thoughts of, "Damn, I wish I didn't consume a tub of ice cream because I look awful in this dress" moments.
Then you look at children starving in third-world countries and you realise how superficial looking slim is.
Awesome words Corrine!
I too am tired of self-punishment and of not "being able" to wear certain things because "my tummy is too large". I know I'm never going to be model thin and that I'm never going to go beyond 5'7" (and that's wearing heels!). I thought I was this giant fat midget and then I stepped into the scale... Not only was I 6 kilos lighter than I thought, I have a perfect BMI and I'm healthy!
Another reason I stopped being friends with my best friend is because she was obsessed with being thin, she put a lot of pressure on me. She belittled me because I didn't go to the gym with her, she laughed at me when I tried to go raw. I think that the best way to loose weight in your life is to get rid of the toxic people in it. People who don't appreciate how awesome you are and make you feel bad about your talents and uniqueness.
The magazine headlines I hate the most are the ones like "Britney Spear's Weight BALLOONS to 63kg!" Because to weigh 63 kilograms is really BALLOONING. I mean, how would she even find clothes to fit her? *eyeroll*
As for the rest, you said it so beautifully, I don't think I need to add anything, other than that you're awesome.
Well said, Corrine.
Sadly at the end of the day, a lot of this comes down to $$$$. Especially in magazines. I guess it's because people won't buy magazines with gorgeous photos and headlines such as "MISCHA BARTON- SHE'S MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU".
The argument of "models with curvy frames should be in magazines" is always diminished because if they do that, advertisers refuse to have their product in the magazine which then means no funds which then equals no magazine.
I think it's absolutely ridiculous. As one example, Girlfriend Magazine run a campaign where they put little stickers on airbrushed photos of models and say "This model spent 3 hours in makeup and then the photos spent 4 hours being photoshopped" etc. The whole aim is to reassure teenage girls that they're normal and that celebrities have the same flaws and blemishes. ANYWAY so, when I was there on work experience, I brought it up with a junior staff member, I basically said, if boosting teenagers' confidence is what you're trying to do, maybe you should practise what you preach in a way and run an issue with no airbrushing or photoshopping allowed in *any* photos. She said that they'd like to (yeah, right.) but as I mentioned before, advertisers won't allow it and the models agencies refuse to let people model without being airbrushed eventually.
It's such a horrible reality but unfortunately, I don't think it will ever change.
Wow. That was a really long rant ahaha.
I have spent a few years lamenting over the fact that my weight fluctuates and that it always sits on my stomach making me feel pregnant after every meal.
But lately, I've been out LIVING and have realised that's not what matters. I need to be healthy, work out so I feel fit and eat good food - but not so I can become skinny - so I can feel good and live well.
I have a long way to go with my body image but I think I now accept that I am still funny, cute, trendy, tasteful and quirky no matter what the scales say.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
It worries me when I go out to a nice dinner with female friends or relatives and they refuse to get dessert for fear of the kilojoules it contains. Being obsessed with weight is a waste of energy, and it's sad that intelligent women such as Ms Rein and Michelle Obama have their hairstyles and figures scrutinized more regularly than their opinions and achievements.