The Media, Volume 2

No one does or should really look like this.

You may remember my earlier post about photoshopping in the media. Well, I’m here to talk about it again because I’m getting to a serious point of frustration with the way the media attacks women for their bodies. It’s EVERYWHERE. And even though we, as women, are starting to unite and expose this terrible behavior, I worry that it isn’t doing any good.

We’re all getting up on our soap boxes and saying it’s wrong… but it isn’t changing. And behind closed doors, I have a sinking suspicion that here we all are, pinching at this or that imaginary fat roll, courting self loathing and more serious issues like anorexia and bulimia. I know I’m a culprit. While watching TV, or looking through magazines, I’ll say out loud “That girl looks terrible–she’s way too thin.” But the next time I pass the mirror, it seems like I’ve suddenly gained 10 pounds. Every time I start to feel happy about my body, it only takes one photo of some malnourished, photoshopped model to make me second guess my appearance.

Here’s the thing, though. I am beautiful. All 160 pounds of me. Every inch of the hips I slide into a size 10 every morning is beautiful, exactly the way I’m supposed to look. What I fail to understand about the media is why they’re so determined to encourage normally-sized women like myself to feel terrible about the way we look. Why are we continuing to encourage women to kill themselves trying to be, as Lady Gaga puts it “model thin.”

And speaking of Lady Gaga, did you know that she was criticized for being “overweight” when she first became famous? This clearly led to the weight loss that is slightly startling when you see her in videos like “Born This Way.” The thing is, Lady Gaga has ALWAYS been thin. Not just healthy. But actually THIN. And yet, according to the people who strive to control our opinions, she’s fat.

And the CLEARLY healthy Olympic athletes we’re watching compete this summer? You best believe the media is fat shaming them, too. OLYMPIC ATHLETES. It’s reaching a critical point here.

This is the original image. No face-just a body.  

Maybe I’m just angry. It’s an issue that’s currently a little too close to home, both with my own struggles of guilt and self loathing over the 10 pounds I gained two years ago (TWO YEARS AGO, and I’m not able to let it go) and with the struggles of some close friends. But these people don’t seem to understand they’re contributing in a major way to the deaths and hospitalizations of women all over the country. Women who could go on to do great things… if they don’t spend the rest of their lives in and out of hospitals being fed through a tube.

I challenge you to find a woman who feels good about her body. Any woman. Pick the skinniest girl you can find. I bet she’ll say something like “Yeah, but my arms are so huge.” Or “But have you seen my thighs?” She’s comparing herself to impossible standards of beauty, to women who are not only probably very sick and need help themselves, but are also coated in makeup and touched up using photoshop.

It’s making us sick. And I’m not sure how to fix it. I thought for a moment about boycotting any products advertised by sickly looking models… but what would I wear? What would I eat? Where could I go? It’s EVERYWHERE.

Gorgeous AND healthy.

I WAS pleased to notice the emails I’ve been getting from American Eagle lately, which featured pictures of the beautiful Shay Mitchell (one of the stars of Pretty Little Liars) who is not only gorgeous but very HEALTHY. The way a beautiful young woman SHOULD look. And while just as many of the models featured on their site are insanely thin, even this one campaign move makes me feel just a little grain of hope that maybe, just maybe, some notice is being taken of the ridiculousness of the media, most especially clothing advertising.

But it’s not enough. It NEEDS to stop. And I think it starts with us, ladies. Each and every one of us. Stop joining in on the fat shaming. Olympic athletes? They’re not fat. And saying they are isn’t going to make you feel any better in the long run. I’m not saying to shame skinny girls either–some girls are just naturally thinner than others. I think it’s time to embrace all the different, wonderful shapes and sizes we women come in and stop letting the media (and each other) try to hold us back by telling us we’re fat, when we have so much more to offer the world than just our pant sizes.

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