September 24th, 2003

Dr. Bunny

Oh The Joys of Body Image in America

So, is this news to anybody?

I don't think it is. Girls feeling horrible about their bodies is nothing new, at least not in America, land of "You're not hot unless I can count your ribs" and "Hey kids, let's have dinner at McDonald's tonight!" We live in a world of contradictions. We are expected to be thin, but expected to eat unhealthy food. We look for the miracle of weight loss drugs, but profess the importance of exersize. There is no perfect weight, no perfect image, nothing is good enough.

What is the perfect size for a girl, or even a guy to be? Must women be stick thin to be considered beautiful? When does a woman become too fat? I know that *I* am overweight, I know that I am fat, but I look at some of my friends who say they would DIE to be thin, and I would DIE to look like them. THey have the natural curvy body of a woman. Isn't that atractive anymore?

They (and just who is this infamous they anyway?) say that around 60% of american adults are overweight/obese. But at the same time we keep pushing and pushing everybody to look like the skinny models. We see them on TV, we see them in magazines, in movies, everywhere, but we DON'T see them in real life. Why? Because they are FAKE FAKE FAKE. They have been airbrushed and edited to look that way. Legs lengthened, waist shrunk, ribs shadowed. I have to ask the guys out there who sometime read my journal, Do you honestly think this is attractive? Or is it kinda like "This is a fantasy, but not what I REALLY want" type thing? Kinda like "sure she might be hot, but I don't really want her"? Please let me know.

And what about guys? I personally am not attracted to super skinny boys. I like my guys with a bit of meat on them (mainly because I have this fear that I will break anybody smaller than myself). This does not, however, mean I like them muscle bound with rippling pectoral muscles. Women out there, how do you feel about male models? Are they too skinny, too built, are they unrealistic to the actual men in our lives? Are we guilty of lusting after fake men as men are with the women in ads?

So here's my hypothesis on why we as a nation are considered overweight. It has a couple of parts.
First off: I think a lot of americans have given up hope of achieving the "perfect" image, and have surrendered to a life of guilt free eating and lazy life style. They may die an early death due to obesity-related causes, but at least they get to die knowing they didn't have to restrict anything.
Secondly: We, as a nation, refuse to take personal responsibility for anything. This includes what we eat. We wouldn't be having a problem with diet obsessed prepubesent girls if we simply taught how to have more healthy life styles. How to eat nutrious, healthy meals at an early age. Learn to listen to our bodies when they tell us they are hungry or full. Create healthy eating habits. Instead, we take the easy way out, blame everything on images. Images DO have A LOT to do with body image, BUT I think that they are not fully to blame.

Now I understand that this does not apply to everybody. For some it is a deep psycological battle that they are going through. However, I think for a majority, it does fall into the two reasons I gave. Now is this the pot calling the kettle black? Hell, I know I need to lose weight, I know I need to eat more healthy and nutrious meals, and find a way to find a healthy LIFE STYLE. Notice I didn't say DIET. Eating should not be something that controls us, it should be a part of how we survive in a healthy manner. I am still searching for that way.
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