There has been a recent push in the media and social networking sites to steer individuals (in particular women) to a “healthi-er body image.”
Several national and international editors at Vogue have vowed to use “healthier” models in their spreads. In 2006, Milan and Madrid banned size zero women from their catwalks for their respective fashion weeks.
Israel now imposes a minimum Body Mass Index of 18.5 on all its working models. Curvy pin-ups like Sofia Vergara and Christina Hendricks are being celebrated as examples of ideal women.
But as someone who knows what it’s like to be judged by my physical appearance, I see a fatal flaw in this mentality. This push, though largely positive, succeeds only in creating a new standard that women cannot live up to.
To spread the message that one body type is acceptable and another is not only keeps the wheels of self-hatred and impossible standards spinning.
Instead of accusing overweight women of being “lazy,” “unhealthy” and “lacking self-control,” we have turned the tables. Now it is thin women who must take a turn at being unfairly judged. They are “vain,” “spend their lives counting calories” and worse yet, are “bulimic” or “anorexic.”
It is difficult for those who have struggled with their weight to understand at times, but some women are naturally very thin. Furthermore, it is insulting to those who have suffered through the hell of those very serious illnesses to say these women have eating disorders simply because of their appearances.
While I appreciate the newfound admiration for my particular body type, this thinking is completely backwards. It doesn’t solve the problem of the poor self-image that many women in this country struggle with. It simply reverses the victim. It turns the demonizer into the demonized.
This image of the perfect woman needs to end.
No one body type should be praised as better than another. Instead of sending the message that there is one perfect, unattainable idea of a woman, we should be telling our daughters, friends, mothers and ourselves that we are all beautiful.
We are all unique. We all have quirks and imperfections. Some of us are curvy. Some of us are thin. Some of us are overweight. Some of us have big, crazy, curly hair that sticks out in a million directions. Some of us have a huge nose. We need to celebrate the things about us that make us unique and different.
Let’s throw out that “perfect woman” image and learn to accept and love ourselves for who and what we are. No two of us are or can be exactly alike, and that is truly beautiful.