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!