Are you sick of seeing that statement splattered everywhere you look? Or does this hollow promise fill you with a sense of glee that perhaps this could be the one that works? This could be the one that ‘changes your life’ and transforms you into this other person whos’ entire life improves simply through their physical appearance.
We all know the truth really…
It’s not your body that’s imperfect or tainted. It’s your mindset.
I would like to note early on in this post that I speak generically about the majority of individuals’ day to day struggles with body image; not when it becomes an illness. Although it is intrinsically linked with this subject, I make no assumptions about eating disorders as they are a serious matter and I have not the insight or knowledge for my comments to be that far reaching.
We live in an age where we are constantly bombarded by imagery and advertisements. A quick internet search with approximate estimations states that we can see anything up to 5,000 media images a day. We are shown how we should make a career, how we should earn money but most of all we are shown how we should look. This is not completely female orientated either anymore, with a dramatic rise in men worrying about their appearance too. A BBC article stated that the Centre for Appearance Research at UWE found that four in five of the men surveyed were unhappy with their bodies. This has been a prevelent problem amongst women for some time; many blaming the media and fashion industry for their distinct lack of enthusiasm for diverse body types.
Sure I can see where blame can fall within these areas but I do not feel they can be solely to blame. Surely we should be able to look at images of other women without feeling threatened thus inducing more self-hatred in terms of our looks. Yes, I know it is because these images have almost always been manipulated beyond belief as can be seen in the 2006 campaign by Dove:
But no matter how much we protest about photoshopped images, technology will not go backwards. It just keeps progressing. The levels of how much it can be used certainly need looking into, but getting rid of it altogether….I find that very unlikely.
The crazy thing is that we are so media savvy and proficient at reading advertising messages these days that we know it’s all a money making ploy; yet we still buy into it. We sign up for the slimming clubs, purchase only their diet options, buy the mega bucks creams and lotions that promise to banish cellulite, some of us even go as far as cosmetic surgery proceedures. All to obtain a ‘perfection’ that we don’t even understand.
Because we are being sold the message ‘You are not enough.’
I’m ranting about it but don’t think I’m immune to all this. I’ve been to the clubs and wasted my money on the products. It didn’t make me happier. It fuelled what can only be described as a narcissistic obsession to achieve an ever shifting goal.
I just simply got fed up with it all to be honest. It’s exhausting chasing something that is so relentless in it’s desire to make you feel inadequate. I stopped following the negative breadcrumbs set down by the media power-houses (though they would have perhaps been celery cubes instead as don’t forget, carbs are evil right?) and just started seeking out more positive influences and taking it all ‘with a pinch of salt’.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t just sit on my ass all day now eating muffins thinking I’m sticking it to the system. If you’re health is suffering at either end of the weight spectrum then you may want to look at making some changes. But for goodness sake do them for YOU not because you think you need to fit into some sort of unrealistic ideal. And on that note ‘healthy’ comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just the size 10 athlete; it can be the size 20 or the size 6 as well. You know nothing about a persons inner health by judging their external appearance.
And this is what has to stop; the constant judging. We’re all guilty of it at some point. Women hating on other women because of their size and appearance. This over hyped bitchyness that is so widely accepted in the media now. Why has it become ok?
Participating in this in any form will not make you feel better about yourself. So just quit it.
Deal with your own issues before projecting your self-loathing onto others. And that’s what I did. I went back to the venomous words of bullies from school and acknowledged them as just words, looked at the reams of extreme diet tips and acknowledged them as just fads. And then I looked at my pale,wobbly, cellulite covered thighs that I have hated for so long and acknowledged them as part of a body that has taken me through 26 years so far of love, hate, sadness, hope and finally acknowledged it with the thanks it deserves.
Your body and you, with all the ‘flaws’ you deem to be imperfect are beautiful. The only person that can take that away is you. I’m not saying you actually become Narcissus, nobody needs to love themselves that much. But we have been told for too long that we should want to change something about ourselves and anyone who says they are happy and love the way they look is immediatley classed as extremely arrogant or lying. If you’re positive it directly affects those around you, so start setting a good example.
It’s not easy. I know that from experience. Our perceptions seem to have become extremely warped and not everyone will want to fix that. But things can change. So if you’re there already, struggling through or just plain can’t see through the fog of self-hatred, remember for now….
Plain and simple. Don’t let your physical appearance determine your life choices, you are so much more. Don’t waste your time, your life, wishing you were something else. And in regards to my original statement; how do you get the perfect body?
You’ve already got it.