Hi lovelies. I am going to try not to make this post too wordy, but it will be hard because I am about to write about a topic that is very very close to my heart...which means I could basically go on about it for hours. I've written previous entries about women's body image issues, and the way society shapes that, but I felt like it was time to bring it up again for several reasons. First, because I recently heard about a book that was written, and is due to be out in October, that is aimed at children between the ages of 4-6 about dieting. It is called 'Maggie Goes on a Diet,' by Paul Kramer, is written in rhyme with illustrations you'd typically see in a children's book. Except these illustrations portray a miserable 'chubby' little girl, and her transformation to a happy skinny girl who becomes the star of the soccer team.
I don't want to make this post all about this book, I only want to point out how absolutely dangerous this topic is becoming for younger generations of girls. The IDEA of a book teaching healthy eating habits sounds great, but sending the message that you will only be happy and accepted if you are skinny is wrong.
It makes me feel sick to my stomach to think that by the time I have daughters they will be growing up in a world where there is virtually ZERO chance of them not having body image issues. Even if I do everything in my power to help them become well-rounded women who embrace the body shape and size they are - they will still be bombarded by a society that tells them they are not good enough, and that shoves photoshopped pictures in their beautiful young faces, telling them that this is what they are supposed to be. This is the real reason I'm writing this post. I want things to change for my future daughters, I want the future generations of women to actually have a chance at living lives that make a difference in this world rather than lives that are overburdened by impossible standards.
How dare anyone ever make a woman feel like her significance and status in this world derives from the way she looks? What an absolutely disgusting idea.
Today I turned on the television for the first time since I've been home from Bulgaria, and was immediately bombarded by commercial after commercial for a new diets, diet pills, gym memberships, incredible weight loss stories, celebrities in bikinis, make up, hair dye, low-fat foods, etc.
Ladies, when did this happen?
When exactly did we shift from the type of women who fought for our rights, who extended our own opinions, who spoke out for our own beliefs.....to women who are more concerned with the extra five pounds we've gained and the fact that our bodies don't look like the models in the magazines?
When did we stop treasuring our curves, and start starving ourselves?
Not only that...turn on the TV, open a magazine, listen to the radio, and you will see and hear women who are belittling themselves by dressing in a way that makes men ignore their minds and focus only on their bodies. Generations before us devoted their entire lives to women's rights, to creating a society where women were able to be seen as equals.....and here we are throwing that away for a too-short mini skirt, a low-cut top, too much makeup, fake hair coloring, all while dumbing ourselves down so boys will like us.
I think we owe it to ourselves and to each other to have a little more respect for ourselves. I also think we owe it to the men of the world - because, believe it or not, there actually are men out there who ARE interested and intrigued by a women's mind NOT only by her body.
The message you would be sending to a man, if you dress with class and if you take pride in your body whatever shape it may be, is a far far better one than what most women are sending.
What can we do?
This issue has become so massive that it is honestly overwhelming to me at times. It really feels like there is very little hope that things can turn around. But if we each focus on our own body image, it can make a huge difference.
So, this is what you should do:
Read, learn, become invested in this world. I know it is so easy to pick up Vogue, People, or Glamour and lose yourself for an hour. But all you are doing is making yourself feel worse (even if it is unconsciously!) and buying into what society is forcing down women's throats. So instead, read about something REAL. Don't allow society to suck you into this. Spend your time forming opinions about things that actually matter. You have a brain and huge potential to make a difference, USE IT!
Read books that encourage you. I just finished, "How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World," by Jordan Christy. My gosh, this woman lays it out so well. I really seriously recommend this book - you can buy it on Amazon or Target for very cheap! You won't regret it either, it will change your outlook on how you act and dress.
Learn to appreciate different body shapes. Some of the most beautiful women in the world are curvy. Some of the most beautiful women in the world are not curvy. *I'm not trying to bash in skinny girls at all. I am simply trying to get you each to understand and realize that our society is telling us that in order to be considered beautiful you HAVE to be skinny.....so false!
It's too overwhelming for me to think about this this issue sometimes. But it becomes a lot less overwhelming when we each decide to take responsibility for our own mindsets. You really can make a difference by making the women in your life think about themselves in a healthier way.
Stop letting society sell you this. You are beautiful and worth more than that.