Do you like the way you look? Apparently most of us don’t! According to a BBC report, “just one per cent of young women are “completely happy” with the shape of their body.” The report also said that over “two-thirds of women thought life would improve “considerably” if they were happy with their body, and 58% believed they would have more success in their careers if their body was a different shape.
Are we really so shallow that we determine a person’s worth by their body shape? Worse still, do we judge our own worth by our body shape? Surely not? Now just to be clear, this discussion isn’t about maintaining a healthy weight; that’s a different issue. This post is about our appearance – how we think we look to others and to ourselves.
The media constantly bombards us with an unnatural body type as supposedly being the ideal shape. This makes it very hard for the rest of us to accept natural body shapes as being attractive. For example, the average American woman is 162 cm (5’4″) tall and weighs 63 kgs (140 pounds), while the average American model’s shape is a much taller than average 180 cm (5’11”) tall combined with a much skinnier than normal weight of 53 kgs (117 pounds). So if a woman thinks that she cannot be attractive unless she looks like a fashion model then she is almost certainly doomed to be unhappy and will spend her life chasing a look that she is unlikely to be able to ever achieve! That’s because most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women. (Source: Children Come First: Body Image Statistics – Dieting Statistics – Body Type)
We could ask though, is “fashion model shape” something that women should want to achieve for themselves? Is it really something that should be desirable? Let’s ignore the media’s perceptions of the fashion model shape as being the ideal standard for women and, for a moment, let’s look at medically healthy body weights. Using Body Mass Index as our guide, how do fashion models stack up against the average woman? I used the Healthy Weight Forum’s calculator to determine the BMIs for both groups. (Underweight is less than 20, Healthy range is 20-25, Overweight is 25+, Obese is 30+ and Morbidly Obese 40+) Using the statistics in the previous paragraph, how do things look now? The results are in:
- BMI for the “average American woman” = 24 which is in the healthy weight range.
- BMI for the “average fashion model” = 16 which is in the unhealthy underweight range.
So really, who should be worried about their bodies? Clearly it’s the fashion models who have the problem, not everyone else!
So the media is actively promoting a body size and shape that is not only unattainable for most women, but in fact is unhealthy – it could literally make you sick! There are many health consequences of being underweight including serious consequences on reproduction, bones and the brain. According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, fashion models are a high risk group. They are less fertile than normal women and among them it is common for menstruation to be irregular or even absent, which is not how things should be with healthy young women. If they do become pregnant their children have an increased risk of metabolic and reproductive problems and even of mental illness later in life. The underweight fashion model’s bone growth and repair is reduced which can lead to osteoporosis, something that does not normally become an issue for some women until they are over 50 years of age. How desirable is that? Even the brain shrinks and changes how it functions resulting in physiological changes effecting their drive, thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Does that sound attractive to you? Do you really want to have the same body shape and size as a fashion model now? I don’t know how you feel about this, but I think that what the media is promoting here is worse than outrageous; it’s irresponsible, dangerous and unethical. It’s shameful! So why do they do it?
Well call me cynical if you like, but I think of it this way. Imagine you are a ruthless, greedy person who is determined to be as rich as you can possibly be and you don’t care at all if you harm other people to achieve your goal. You don’t care if you harm other people’s physical health. You don’t care if you damage them psychologically or emotionally. You just don’t care as long as you can get their money from them. Now to get people to buy your products you have to make them believe that they need your products. The most effective way to get people to do this is for you to do everything you can to make them feel bad about the way they look. You make them believe that they are fat and unattractive, even though they are perfectly normal. To do this you promote the fashion model, who is so skinny she is in a medically unhealthy weight range. These women are so underweight that 98% of the female population are “fatter” than they are, yet you promote these women as the ideal. You pay the media to continually push these unhealthily skinny women’s body shape in people’s faces so that they actually start to believe that they are fat, even though they are in the normal healthy weight range. Do this for long enough and you can succeed in ruining the body image of an entire generation! Most perfectly normal women (and men too) now have such a low opinion of themselves that they are rushing to give you their money, making you rich, all to keep them on a treadmill for an unattainable goal. This is fantastic for you because they will keep coming back to buy your product. Well done greedy commerce and your partner the media! You wrecked the self esteem of tens of thousands of teenagers just to get their money, but who cares? The important thing is that you are getting richer and richer and richer while your victims struggle with the low body image you deliberately worked to create in them!
Do you think what is described in the last paragraph is what is going on here? What other reason could there be for the promotion of something that is so obviously wrong. Why else would fashion models so closely be connected with the marketing of beauty products? What do you think? Overall, is the whole skinny fashion model thing yet another form of discrimination – this time against healthy women who are of a normal weight being made to feel bad about themselves so that they can be manipulated to spend their money on products that they do not need, or do I have it all wrong? Let us know your views!
Who do you choose as your personal weight/self-image guide?
(Image: Public Domain)
|Super model Anorexia Slim|
Follow my 3 veg and 2 fruits diet and you too can look like me! It’s easy. Just eat 3 peas and 2 sultanas per day, and nothing else. In no time you’ll have a beautifully toned figure. You’ll ruin your health like I have, but at least you’ll be trying to look like I say you should look.
I am the perfect role model. The fashion gurus all say so and they care as much about you as they do about me! I do whatever they say and so should you!
To the left, Anoxexia Slim’s pictured with her best friend Mr Photoshop!
Tyrone began his total physical and emotional transformation journey just 3 weeks ago and has lost an astonishing 273kg to reach his ideal goal weight of 81kg. How did he do it? Tyrone guzzled just one glass per day of Dr Gullible’s scientifically formulated ancient Inca juice for only $15.95 per glass plus $59.00 postage and handling.
(Tyrone, who is now driving a Lamborghini, has dumped his girlfriend and is now dating Super model Anoxexia Slim. He wants to share his story because he loves helping others. He wants to help you too! He’s just that kind of guy! Way to go Tyrone!)
Tyrone enjoys the liberation only a flat tummy can give! (Images: Public Domain)
(Image: Public Domain)
|A Properly Qualified Person|
There are plenty of groups and qualified people whose concern is, not to get your money, but to keep you healthy. Government sponsored websites such as Youth Central, Better Health Channel, a nutritionist or a medical practitioner can help you get the right understanding of a healthy normal body weight and shape.
You might also like to read the Commonwealth Governments National Strategy on Body Image