Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why do we chase the elusive "ideal" size and looks?

Delta Burke in her book Delta Style says a great many things that a lot of plus-size women have learned from their own experiences and which they agree with.   She says on her cover, "Eve wasn't a size 6 and neither am I".  If that doesn't give a woman with a figure more than size 6 hope and encouragement, nothing will!

Another great woman, Anita Roddick (of the Body Shop) said this:

"If you open a woman's magazine and flick through the pages, you'll notice something very peculiar - every model is a size 10.  Why's that?  You get on a bus, or walk down a street (any bus, any street) and the women you see aren't all a size 10.   They're all sizes.  All shapes.  Could it be that models aren't supposed to be about real life?  Could it be that these over-thin girls are actually there to inspire insecurity and vulnerability?"

There is a theory that by showing only these women, magazines can create a fantasy atmosphere.  One we can envy.  One for us to aspire to.  "If I looked like her, everything would be all right',  "If I were that slim, I'd be happy",   "Look at her, a cellulite-free zone, what's she got to worry about?".  How many times have your heard, or said that?'' 

In short, advertisers want us to believe that happiness does come from within THEIR products.  And that waif of a model, with the perfect hair, in that gorgeous setting, holding their product is testimony to the fact.  Nothing wrong with that, just a little harmless fantasy, you might think.

But for a growing number of women it's not a fantasy.  It's an obsession, and one that's far from harmless.  This whole idealised beauty nonsense that's splashed all over the place is destroying the very people it's meant to celebrate.  Models who twenty years ago weighed 8% less than the average woman, today weigh 23% less. 

Do you know that it takes only three minutes looking at pictures of such models in magazines that causes 70% of women to feel depressed, guilty and shameful (about their size)? 

So how can we change attitudes, our thinking, how we feerl about ourselves?  These changes will not come from glossy magaziunes; they will not come from manufacturers of "feel-good" products, even manufacturers of fashion.  They will not come about by television shows which persist in portraying larger women as being unintelligent, dumb, dense and undiscipled - in other words a frump.  

The first step has to be ours.   We have to change our attitude towards ourselves.  That's where the change will occur, and that's the reason why when it does occur, it will be complete and fulfilling.  Because there is no doubt that when you feel good about yourself, it doesn't matter a fig to you if people are intolerant; if they are indifferent, arrogant rude, and/or embarrassing.  Sure, you'll still get upset, you'll still get angry and you've every right to.  But you'll express that anger or discomfort with a sense of fairness and confidence.  Your self image will not suffer - you'll still be proud, and you'll still be confident in yourself, believing in your own instincts.

You'll become more aware of who you are and what you are.  You will recognise that you are a woman first and foremost.  Everything erlse will then fall into place.  

Note:  When Anita Roddick spoke those words you'll notice she mentions "today's" models as being a size 10.    It doesn't take a moment to realise how things have changed even in a short space of time - today's models, that is in 2010/2011 are now more a size zero - why goodness me, a model who is size 10 day would be told she's "obese".  Things have gone too far, honestly.

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