The reality of body image issues

Encourage body positivity

Last month, I started an additional blog. I had an idea that has evolved into a collection which grows still.

It started with the realization of just how bad this body image problem really was and how it effects their daily lives.

Kids know they will be heckled on Facebook and at school for any small imperfection on a picture. Oh, yes, heckling doesn’t just come from random guys on the street or from the distant edges of hallways. It is now immortalized on your Facebook feed. No one is safe from becoming a bad meme anymore. Thank you, random mean people.

The current problem in America (at least) has deep roots. They come from the ideals of perfection pumped out in media, the body shaming in classrooms, the near-mandatory body hating conversation every time multiple girls are half naked around each other. It comes from our parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It comes as much from compliments which tell you that you have achieved perfection today as from the days when there are no compliments as from the days when there are insults. It comes from that horrid, menacing scale. It comes from the BMI calculators. It comes from comments on what you eat, good or bad.
These roots are so engrained in the shame of body image that many people cannot separate body image moments from the rest of their moments. For many, every moment is one to hate your image with.

Thoughts on Body Image includes my thoughts on body image and attempting to have a positive one. It has also come to be a collection of many struggles with positive body image. I have collected posts from men and women, many are very personal, some document the national and international evolution of this problem instead.

But I wanted to do more than share our collective thoughts and struggles. I’ve given encouragement. I’ve even stated there that I have become a bit of a body image troll. There’s a part of me that feels like a great way to really make a difference in body image is to encourage those who have been brave enough to share their struggle. Encourage them to love their bodies the way they are. Encourage them to stay healthy above skinny, especially when healthy is the goal they shared and skinny isn’t. Remind them that they are wonderfully made, and nothing on a scale or BMI index changes that.
And I always aim to remind myself and others that there is so much more to all of us than appearance. There’s even more to appearance than appearance, I know that people around me get more attractive when they are nicer.

There is another problem that I have with this issue and the media treatment of it. Here is a non-gendered issue that is treated as if all genders aren’t just as plagued with it. No one advocated to or actually did alter my body as soon as it was out of the womb. I can’t imagine what intersex and trans people go through with body image. I can tell you that some strive to transcend it. People also like to pretend that men are immune to it. We pretend that men don’t have impossible standards imposed on them by the combination of media and human interaction. They deal with it, they struggle with it, they hurt themselves over it. There is a silent majority because of the man box, but I haven’t personally spoken to a man who didn’t have the exact same feelings about their body as a woman when he was comfortable enough to step out of the man box in my presence.  Here are some more facts on body image.

If we can’t see how bad the body image issue is and that it effects all genders, then we clearly still need feminism to progress and grow.

Join me next Friday for a look at the nature of our choices! Follow me here and on Twitter @createparity!

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4 thoughts on “The reality of body image issues

  1. Is feminism really the solution to this. Dictionaries define feminism as the advocacy for women’s rights on the basis of social economic and political equality to men. Feminism is the advocacy for women’s rights. The issues you mentioned are not women’s rights issues. How can we address “The Man Box” as rights for women? How we address male body image issues by advocating for women?

    As you correctly pointed out, body image issues are not gendered. Feminism IS. Feminism is the wrong tool to address this issue.

    • I didn’t decide that this was a feminist issue. It is one that has been embraced by feminism and is so mentioned. I just disagree with their assessment that it is a primarily female problem, which was the my main point. That it is considered a women’s problem, instead of a people problem, is my issue with it’s advocacy. That is also part of why we aren’t done with feminism. We continue to gender issues based on which gender speaks up more about an issue. We shouldn’t have women or men problems, we should just have people problems. Even something as gendered as birth control seems to be, shouldn’t be. Why don’t we have more male contraceptives? Because it’s largely viewed as a women’s problem until you start talking about men paying child support for kid’s they didn’t want. And when they don’t or can’t pay, then it’s everyone else’s problem. In my logic, that makes even birth control not a gendered a issue. Issues shouldn’t be gendered, but they are. When that ends, we won’t need to grow feminism anymore.

      • I agree we should address issues in non-gendered ways. Gender roles are interconnected and interdependent, you can’t change one without affecting the other.

        The point I was trying to make is that feminism has far to much baggage to do this. The very definition of feminism precludes the non-gendered approach we both want. We need a gender egalitarian approach.

        • I agree that we need a gender egalitarian approach, I just don’t really see one on the rise yet. Masculism is in it’s infancy and very interesting to many feminists in a variety to ways.

          As far as the definition goes, this depends on interpretation. While it specifically states “rights of women to be equal to that of men” and not the other way around, it does still go the other way around. If the rights of women are equal to that of men, then mathematical theory tells us that the rights of men must also be equal to that of women.

          Also, baggage doesn’t preclude feminism or feminists from continuing to fight for issues on both sides of the fence. Most movements have baggage, they just have to power through it.

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