Sunday, August 19, 2012

Body Image

Sometimes Most of the time, I find myself falling into the thought-pattern in the above comic strip.  My life will be better when I'm thinner.  I'll get a big promotion, my student loans will pay themselves, I'll get the perfect boyfriend, I'll finally get along with my family.  Now, the logical portion of my brain knows this is false, so why do I find myself thinking this way time and time again? 

I think it comes down to body image, and how it's been drilled in my head since I was born that thinner is better.  And it wasn't a healthy association.  Had I been conditioned to think that not being overweight is a sign of a healthy body, I think I'd be okay, but that's not what I think.  I don't care if the thin girl sits around all day eating chocolate and lard right from the tub and never exercises.  Her arteries may be clogging as we speak, but dammit, she's thin--and that's what matters.  It's no wonder that bad self-images can lead to depression, eating disorders and the like.

I know a lot of girls who are smaller than me but can't run as long or far as I do.  I know many who never go to the gym at all.  I would trade places with them in a heartbeat.  Is this awful?  Yes.  This next photo has been hanging around the internet for awhile, but I really do like it:

I like the idea of accepting yourself with however you look, although I do worry sometimes that all the Love-Your-Body movements can have the adverse affect of not encouraging women who are overweight to try and get healthy.  The plain truth of the matter is that it's bad for your health to be overweight, and so while I never condone discriminating against someone for being too heavy, I also feel we should always encourage them (myself included) to trying out healthier lifestyles.

Where is all this coming from?  The other day when I was at the gym, I had just finished and was in the locker room.  As I stood at my locker gathering my things, two ladies came in with a young girl who was about 7 years old or so.  The one woman was the little girl's mother, and she went to weigh herself on the scale in the locker room.  After doing so, she made her little girl also weigh herself and then commented loudly about how she was worried about her weight to her friend.  This poor little girl had to be subjected to such public scrutiny.  Truly, I was horrified.  I love the idea of exercising with your children and teaching them a healthy lifestyle, but that?  That was not my idea of building a positive body image.  I'm sure the mother wasn't actively trying to negatively affect her daughter, but I can't condone what she did.  It's such a shame, too, since studies have shown that the support of one's family can help shape positive body images.

Anyway, that's just my thoughts for the day.

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