A weighty issue.
October 19, 2013
An entrenched obsession – incessantly being discussed in all forms – being passed on from adult woman to intently watching and learning girl.
Chelsea, a fan who follows my Facebook page, sent me an email due to the following meme that I found and put up on my page:
I LOVE the message of it but I also questioned whether the body in the image was the most realistic for the message. Chelsea wrote:
I’m a naturally slender and tall woman. I can gladly say I am proud of my body just the way it is but I’m sometimes made to feel guilty about this. It’s becoming increasingly common for people like me to be called unnatural or unrealistic. I know that what is portrayed in the media is often not a healthy image but I think we should be starting a movement of acceptance that we are all different in so many ways and that it’s important to be healthy and happy rather than still trying to paint a picture of what ‘real’ women look like.
This is part of what I responded to her:
I want – with all my soul – to live in a world where women’s bodies are not even an issue; that it’s just a vessel which houses an amazing human being.
I may sometimes focus on the larger figured women on this page, to help those who feel shame about their size and to hopefully help them start having more positive thoughts about themselves.
I am a naturally slender and tall woman too and lost 10 kilos (2 and a half years after giving birth to my second child). Many said I’d lost too much weight – although for my height I was well within the healthy weight range. But people still passed judgement.
I didn’t really do much to lose that weight – it’s like my body became that way with a few minor changes to diet but a major change to my attitude toward my body. I loved it.
That’s what really worked.
I know many healthy women who are both overweight AND underweight – it’s just the body they have.
I similarly know women who do no exercise and eat poorly but are ‘slim’ . However, they may have issues down the track with their health.
A lot of the time – weight has little to do with health.
*** AND NOTHING TO DO WITH BEAUTY ***
Beauty is a state of mind.
I agree with Chelsea that the term, ‘Real Woman’, can be damaging because we are ALL real women – even slender ones.
The following is from a wonderful series of cartoons from Colleen Clark’s Body Image Comic. This first one hits the nail on the head:
I have to admit that it was only recently that I had a moment of clarity with my own daughters’ figures, purely due to how different their bodies are. Polar opposites.
My eldest has always been an eager eater…from birth.
I (and my husband) have always looked out for her – purely from a health perspective; an intake of too much food (or too much of the wrong foods) would cause imbalance in the body.
She is nearly 11. She is tall for her age; a muscly, solid, amazonian girl.
My 7 year old is another matter entirely. Some may describe her as skeletal.
Her weight is fine for her age, but her height is quite a bit taller – hence her slim shape.
Both my girls are unique. Their bodies are unique. As each woman’s body is unique.
They eat well and are always on the move – yet they look completely different.
I’m sure, however, that both – especially my eldest, will be judged.
They will see, as a gender, women (and girls) being miserable with the way they look – endlessly comparing themselves to the few who fall into the ‘beautiful’ category.
But it is simply a category – one that’s designed to instil insecurity for the pure purpose of making billions of dollars – forever making us doubt our worth.
Question #188: Why do women believe so heavily in all this and participate in its perpetuation?
Well, I will not do it to my daughters.
Their figures are what they are and I will simply guide them toward their bodies being nurtured as healthily as possible.
I want this to be the lesson:
You’re radiant just as you are.
Now go be a great role model.