Negative Body Image: It's All In Our Heads
"Oh really? You think so?"
Just recently John McCain's twentysomething daughter responded publically to a critic/pundit who challenged her politics and linked her intellectual credibility to her dress size, suggesting she needed to go on a diet. "Well, you can kiss my big fat ass!" was the response heard round the talkshow circuit. This beautiful, sassy and articulate young woman was quoting Tyra Banks who said it first, awhile back. Ms. Banks had donned a form fitting swim suit and strutted her healthy womanly stuff on her talk show after a media commentator had brought up her apparent change in girth as a topic open for discussion. Is it possible that women as a collective are preparing to take on the image mongers? It is possible that we are weary of constantly seeing and hearing that thin is good and thinner better. That the term "slender" is frequently spoken of as synonymous to sexy, attractive, and goregous! If it's all in our heads, then we have the power to go out of our minds and redefine womanhood into the image in which she truly was created. Is it time to ditch the collective negative body image?
Healthy Is The New "Sexy"
Strangely enough, we are slowly getting "it". The idea that our thoughts indeed, do create our realities. If you've haven't yet seen "The Secret", a self help DVD build around this concept, you may want to watch it. Basically we are who we believe ourselves to be. Yet, our identity is a synergistic and complex construction. Others influence our defnition of who we are. BUT ONLY IF WE LET THEM! Perhaps the day of reckoning is near.
It's true, that our bodies have not been our own. Just take a look at the countless size 0-2 models whose figures grace the covers of magazines, promoting the latest style. Let's face it ladies and gents; size 0 is not typical of a women's body or even indicative of what's healthy for that matter. The healthier fuller, real figure of the majority of women should be what is heralded as beautiful and attractive. Barbie Dolls have done a lot of damage in terms of what little girls wanted to grow up to look like. But Barbie was just a doll. Remember?
Time to move over, all of you undernourished scrawny babes. It's time that women finally dump the fantasy media images and start feeling better about their real body images! Body image begins with the brain. And women's brains are screaming NO to the cream-filled, chocolate iced, donuts; and thick creamy shakes that they are tempted to turn to when caught in the guilt trap of "not looking good enough". If a woman feels she just can't win anyway; then unhealthy binge eating, constant dieting, exercise obsessions and constant self chastisement are a way of life. Enough! Too much emphasis on body image wreaks havoc with our self-esteem. and there is evidence galore that it's doing the same to our little girls. So what the heck, might as well make dinner tonight a feast of greasy takeout and have a huge chocolate bar for desert.
This is the sad reality for countless women trapped in a world of being "not thin enough", "obese", or "suffering" from an eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. Researchers have come to the conclusion that having an eating disorder is largely related to having a poor body image. Is it all in your head? Yes, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.
Liposuction? Breast implants? Butt enhancements? Plastic surgery on any and all body parts. These have become common procedures. It's as likely parents are saving for their daughter's breast augmentation surgery as it is that they saved for her braces or college education. As a matter of fact, cosmetic surgery appears to be the norm these days as we even see women in their early twenties lining up for breast and butt implants when they aren't big enough or liposuction and binge dieting when there's too much of her.
It seems indeed to be true- that a distorted body image begins with the brain. Unfortunately, there must be a great number of women who have lost their capacity to think clearly. Why else would young intelligent women put themselves under a surgeon's knife to recreate what's been working perfectly for them. When did they get the message that "only perfect" was acceptable and "perfect" only comes at the hand of a surgeon who aims to re-create in the image of the media idols. And why did they accept it?
Women and men need to be re-educated or have their brains rewired so that they know that they are perfect just as they are. Slowly we are becoming aware of the implausible images that have been put before us via media advertsing campaigns. Our image of what is sexy and what is beautiful has become tainted by this outside influence. The creation of the phenomena of negative body image was carefully contrived over decades through media blasts and ad campaigns telling us what about a woman is ok and what is not. And through the magazine editorials that would choose a nutritionally starved cocaine addict over a real woman as the horse on which to hang and photograph their clothes. And through the dolls we have been induced to buy our young prepubescent daughters. Is there a girl out there who does not have a stable of Barbie dolls before she turns eight years old?
Is it all in your head? Yes. And it came in through your eyeballs, and took root while you were sleeping. The "man-made" Hooter's rendition of "woman" barely matches the natural bodies that women are genetically born to grow into. We see so many extremes today? It is not surprising that when asked "What's one thing you would change if you could?"The majority of women say that they would change something significant about their body parts. In other words they immediately think about their appearance in terms of a negative body image.
Is it all in their heads? Sadly it must be.
And before we abandon the topic, here's one final "bone" to pick among all the guys out there who want to mix and match their "Barbie's" parts at will. Let's talk about these men, the professional, intelligent, health conscious, sports car driving, beach walking, wine drinking, dinner buying men on the dating sites who put in an "Image Building" order for the woman of their dreams. Will someone please tell them- that the advertising media has taken them for braindead. They have been so easily influenced. Regarding that "slender classy" girl with 38 DD's they are expecting to materialize, well it's like this. Nature suggests a balanced chassis, that is, a caboose to match. If those 38DD's are the real thing, guys, you are probably going to get no "girl", but a real woman, a healthy woman. And thin and slender do not compute for the average real woman. Neither do 38DD's by the way, unless she's nursing twins! " Sexy and Healthy" is what it's all about! Negative body image, get out of town.
Joseph Chilton Pearce, writer of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg said, "We act ourselves into ways of believing, and we believe ourselves into ways of acting." It doesn't matter whether the chicken or the egg came first. Think positive and your body may just surprise you. Accept your health as an aspect of beauty that is not man-made and will not fade. You are so beautiful! You are so. Beautiful.