Recently, I delved into several famous fashion magazines’ “Shape” issues. These are the issues of periodicles that include photos and articles about women who are not that “ideal” size 2 or even 0. This is a great concept. However, why should these varied shapes be saved for just one issue a year? As a conessuer of magazines, I have noticed that teen mags have started to include bigger girls in their editorials and in various spreads. There is always that token “curvy” girl in there. Sometimes, she is even larger than the usual size 12 (which, by the way, is actually smaller than the average size for the typical US woman). This is not something that has expaneded into the fashion mags for adult women, though. We are still asked to look more like pre-hormonal adolescents than the actual thirteen year olds are.
Looking around at myself and the women in my life, I realize that few of us are truly happy with our bodies. We all want to loose something, gain something, adjust something. I once heard a friend who is absolutely gorgeous say that she wishes that people would focus on something other than her beauty because she thinks that it detracts from her professional abilities. Another friend is always saying that she needs to lose weight, though she is gorgeous, too. Even though I’ve lost a whole lot of weight myself, I still hate things about my body and look. It detracts from my confidence, I know, but that is the way that it is. Recently, LK wrote a great post about this on her live journal. She was talking about the different ways that people see her physically and the ways she sees herself. She has an amazing confidence and is a very beautiful woman, and the thing is that there are so many expectations from people about what a woman should be, so many conficting messages are sent, that it can be hard to be as confident and aware as she is.
I’ve struggled with various eating disorder over the years. In middle school, I went thru a barely noticedstint with anorexia that recurrs from time to time. I have been a compulsive eater for about eight years now, and I had a really bad case of exercize bulemia about three years ago. My body got me in check, though (I lost my period for about six months, which scared the shit out of me). I can say that only a little of the pressure that made me do these things was outside me. The initial impulse, images, articles about weight loss, things my mother said, were of course external, but where I took it came from me. Anyone who has these tendancies has an internal ability or thought process that makes it so that it is OK to hurt yourelf to make others and yourself happy. There were times when I was dizzy and weak, and running crooked on the treadmill and instead of being worried about myself, I felt richeous. I felt that I was doing the best thing, being stronger than others were. Really, I was killing myself a little.
I thought I wasn’t good enough because of something I saw in my physical presence. Because of this, I thought it was OK to hurt myself for it. I forgot to see the ways that I was beautiful because all I saw was cottage cheese thighs, jiggle belly, acne, fat calves, thin hair. Somehow, I let that overshadow my intelligence, sense of humor, raucous laugh, and kindness. (as well as my pretty eyes and great derierre, thank you very much)
Overall, I think it would be great if everyone of us took time out of every day to tell at least one woman in our lives something that we find beautiful about her. Perhaps, if we all heard it a little more often, we would be a little better to ourselves.