Monday, September 25, 2017

Body Image Myths and the Last Accepted Prejudice

Untitled design-12A lot of us spend a lot of time consuming media from all directions. Print, online, video, audio. We are bombarded with messages about how we are supposed to look.

For women, the pressure to achieve the ideal female body image is powerful. All-around we are shown images of hyper-slim, either tall or petite, large busted females. We are shown that the ideal is to be thin, above all else.

The iconic symbol of this idea is Barbie. If Barbie was life-sized she’d be at 76% of her healthy bodyweight. This weight level would require acute, serious hospitalization. Yet, many women are seeking to achieve that level of thinness. It is diametrically opposed to the natural curves of a healthy woman’s body.

For men, a hyper muscular, low body fat, hairless visage is promoted by the media.

The iconic image for that body type is G.I. Joe Extreme (the big modern G.I. Joe). If G.I. Joe existed at full-size his biceps would be almost as big as his waist and bigger than most competitive bodybuilder’s biceps. That hyper masculinity focuses on the exaggeration of the mail physiology. The six pack abdominal muscles and highly defined musculature being promoted to men in the abdominal region is only achievable by very few genetically predisposed to it. For most men this physique is impossible to achieve without illegal steroids.

IMG_4346Daily, we are shown that these types of bodies are normal, attainable, and desirable. We trying to achieve the impossible and trying to eat less and exercise more to achieve an unachievable ideal. Sometimes, we feel worse and worse because we can’t succeed at looking like what we are being shown is normal. But it’s not normal.

What if we can step out of the carousel of unhealthy body image? What if we could step into self-love. Let’s all acknowledge the role the media has in shaping our thought processes, our emotions and our choices. And then let’s bust that system and instead choose health and happiness. Let’s choose joy in our lives and to love ourselves for who we are and how beautiful we are innately at a healthy weight, living a happy life.

In our culture, we do not celebrate the diversity and beauty of different body types. Surveys have shown that people associate being thin and or muscular with being successful, beautiful, strong, hard-working, popular, and disciplined. The term “fat” is associated with being weak, ignorant, and lazy. This is literally a prejudice. This is literally negatively judging people by how they look – the definition of prejudice. We have accepted in our culture that the color of our skin doesn’t mean anything about our character. We have accepted in our culture that gender doesn’t mean anything negative about our character. We acknowledge that these people of different color and different gender are equal to us. Yet, it is way too common in educated, thoughtful, discourse among professional adults to hear the word “fat” tossed around in a derogatory manner. It’s not funny to make fat jokes. It’s uneducated and ignorant, just like other types of racial prejudice. How unacceptable is it to make off color jokes about race? That is how offensive joking about people’s bodies is.To hear people termed less-than because of their size is erroneous and unfortunate. Frankly, we should all be angry at this prejudice and working to change it just like we did with gender and racial prejudice and, now, how we also are with sexual orientation discrimination. Let’s work together to end fat chat forever!

IMG_3612Become conscious of how you speak about people’s physical appearance. Judging people positively or negatively based upon their appearance is discriminatory. Become aware of any ways that you perpetuate stereotypes and endeavor to change them. Just like with anything else, you can be the change.

 

Amy Leigh Mercree’s motto is “Live joy. Be kind. Love unconditionally.”  She counsels women and men in the underrated art of self-love and self-acceptance to create happier, healthier lives.  Each act of love and kindness moves us a step closer to a world that celebrates all of the beautiful diversity our planet possesses. Find a bonanza of bliss in, “101 Ways to Enhance Your Bliss,” Mercree’s upcoming book with Llewellyn Worldwide. 
Amy is an author, media personality, and expert dating, relationship, & wellness coach. She teaches workshops around the country. Mercree speaks internationally and brings groups on adventure vacations around the world focusing on kindness, joy, and wellness. She is taking a group of positive souls to The Bahamas in 2015 to swim with wild dolphins and unleash their bliss.
Mrs. Mercree’s book “The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex, and Soul Mates” is THE empowered dater’s toolkit. Check out AmyLeighMercree.com for articles, picture quotes and quizzes. Mercree is fast becoming one of the most quoted women on the web. See what all the buzz is about @AmyLeighMercree on Twitter.

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