Body Image Issues

via Viral Facebook Post Nails Why So Many Women Struggle With Body Image

As I said in yesterday’s post, manufacturers like the fact that women end up struggling with finding clothing that fits — either too large (i.e. “vanity sizing”) or too small.

Like the caricature of the beauty mogul in Catwoman, the fashion industry, the beauty industry and the weight loss industry all have an interest in keeping women insecure about their body and their relative attractiveness.  Without the fashion and beauty industry telling us that if we only use their products, we wouldn’t be old, fat or ugly.

If we didn’t have that insecurity, we would be more able to stand up to those industries, and require them to reflect the average woman, rather than some idealized perfection that NO ONE reflects.

In fact, if you ever watched things like Project Runway, you would hear all sorts of reasons that fashion designers insist on designing for the androgynous body type.  It is the easiest body type to design for, because it has more straight lines than a more curvy woman (and, no, I’m not using the word curvy in place of fat – I’m saying curvy as in actually having a curve from bust to waist and from waist to hip). In fact, I remember watching one episode in which the designers were required to design for a plus sized woman, and was horrified at the catty, snarky comments that the designers made away from their models.

If we didn’t have a constant stream of advertising telling us that we are ugly, fat or old, we wouldn’t buy as many of their products.  We keep buying them, hoping for the magic pill that makes us young and beautiful (thin is part of the definition of the “beautiful” or “perfect” woman). If the beauty product doesn’t work, it’s our fault — because obviously we’re too ugly for any product to work on us.

Keeping that focus on ugly, fat and old means that women will buy anything, as long as it helps us become beautiful.  How many women do you know that has a closet bulging with clothes, yet still goes out and purchases more because those clothes she already has make her look “ugly” or “fat.”

And keeping us focused on trivialities like whether or not we are beautiful, keeps us from making our voice heard.  It makes women suspicious of their fellow women, because we are somehow in competition with each other.  Not in the way that men compete. Men tend to want to prove their masculinity against other men based on what they are capable of, rather than on how attractive they are.  Women are taught that if they aren’t attractive enough, they will never succeed.  And, are taught to assume the worst of of other women, because that hyper-focus on looks totally ignores that perhaps that other woman deserves what she gets based on merit rather than looks.

Ladies, at this point, there are slightly more women than men in our country.  We need to stand up and make our voices known.  We need to stand up, and insist on ethical behavior of our female leaders.  We need to stand up and take our place in history rather than showing each other up and tearing each other down.

We complain about the “old boys club,” but we don’t do anything about it.  Or we try to recreate it for women, and refuse to have standards of behavior.  One of the reasons that the old boys club works for men is because if a man does not live up to the standards of behavior that the group has, he is then exiled from the group.  We, on the other hand, seem to insist that we gather together and support any woman reaching for power, regardless of her actual merit or ethics – simply because of the fact that she was born an XX.


Categories: Body Positivity, Feminism | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Body Image Issues

  1. nessa3

    My issues with weight gain…Ive always been fit…but when women get a certain age hormones dont care, and you can do everything correct and still the weight stays.
    Also health issues like joint pain,hot flashes, vertigo, no energy….so discouraging

    • I can understand your pain. I see it in my sister. While I’ve always been large, she didn’t gain weight until after she had her boys.

      Instead of competing with each other, we women need to have the compassion to support each other.

      I don’t pick on or snub friends who are at the other end of the body size spectrum or those in the middle. We ALL have body image issues.

      Thank you for having the courage to speak up about your issues!

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