The short answer: yes. This post is inspired by a recent very popular women’s magazine of which I have subscribed to for a number of years (coincidentally coinciding with the time my own struggles with food and body image started). The article was talking about how to succeed with weight loss (obviously, do women’s magazines ever discuss anything else?) and a top tip was not to consume “man portions” – it then advised that you should serve on your plate up to two thirds of what your partner has.
What if you’d done a really intense training session that day compared to him sitting on his bum? What if you’re a bigger build than him, or have a faster metabolism? Or most importantly, what if you’re just really bloody hungry? Food and nutrition should be based on individual person’s needs, not through comparisons of others. But no, as long as you’re losing weight none of that other stuff matters.
Everywhere we turn we are faced with all these “perfect” bodies – women with teeny tiny waists, beautiful skin and hair, perfect boobs and long toned legs. I’m pretty sure you’ve already guessed this is not real. Photoshop is literally destroying our body image and warping our minds, not least of all young, vulnerable girls. According to a DOVE study the number one “magic wish”, of girls between the ages of 10-14 is to lose weight and 17% od 8-12 year olds induced vomiting or used laxatives or diet pills to lose weight. And it’s no wonder with the images we are bombarded with every. single. day. Magazines, social media, television. Obviously we cannot blame this solely on the media but I personally believe it can be a huge part of it.
As a society we worship thinness, and our perception of beauty and health leans towards this. Think of how common it is to receive a compliment about your weight, how happy people are when people ask them if they’ve lost weight. Does this mean they are healthier? Not at all, it may be quite the opposite. But because of the media we see thinness as a means to success, power, higher status and ultimately happiness.
We as females are often reduced by the media to little more than play things, sex objects, there to sell products. There are thousands of news stories a day telling us how a certain female singer changed her outfit THREE TIMES SHOCK HORROR, or asking us to judge them as “hot or not”, slating their clothes, hair, how they look, whether they’ve put on weight etc. Imagine if we did this to males – it seems ridiculous doesn’t it? So why with women is it the norm? Surely there are more important issues to report than “who wore it best”?
That’s not to say things aren’t improving, with more representation of different body types, body positivity movements and strong female leads popping up here and there.However, this needs to become the norm rather than the exception.
I realise this post may come across as a massive feminist rant, and that’s okay. If you’d have asked me a couple of years ago if I was a feminist I would have scoffed and responded with a resounding no. But feminism isn’t all burning bra’s, man hating and not shaving our legs as most of us believe. Feminism is simply the theory that women should have exactly the same rights as men – so why on earth, male or female, would you not be?