This article was published in DREAMS online magazine on 3rd December 2013.
I have to start this post by stating that I am a normal girl with a healthy weight and BMI who loves to cook and eat healthy food most of the times.
However, I have days when I look at the mirror and don’t like what I see. I know I am not alone in this. There are times when all of us feel like we are not beautiful, our body is not normal, and basically have a bad day.
On good days, I think I have a good body which can be bettered with exercise. But on bad days, all I see is the flaws of my body. My muscles can be more toned, my face can be prettier, my stomach can be flatter, my hair can be better, my skin can be cleaner, and the list can go on forever. Basically, I want a supermodel body and flat stomach. I go on diets and workout hard for it. But the best part of this phase is that I wake up in a good mood, and so have a good day.
I am a mature woman, so I know the difference between reality and fantasy. Also, having a husband who thinks I am beautiful and attractive helps.
But all this made me wonder how girls these days are coping with the image issue. When I was growing up, I never wanted to be a Barbie or some hot supermodel. I never saw girls with super-hot body attractive, so I did not diet to look like them. Nor did I read any magazines that gave me body issue problems.
But kids these days have it very tough in this matter. They get ideas about what is a perfect body from a very young age from perfectly groomed role models with great bodies. The fairy-tale characters in children’s books, dolls, and cartoons are designed to be perfect looking, and so are everyone else from TV and magazines. No wonder so many children suffer from anorexia, bulimia and depression.
And then there are fads like “size 0 figure”, so that even girls as young as 10 think they don’t have a good body, and start dieting. Most of these kids are letting their body define who or what they are rather than their personality. They think that all thin people are happy with themselves, and they want to be one of them.
Then I look around to where these kids are inspired from. Just open any teen magazine, watch any movie or music video. What do you see? Skinny girls portrayed as hot. Look at fashion week, and it will be hard to see a model who has normal curves like everyday women. This is so sad to see.
Does that mean 95 percent of the population of the world who are not models are not normal and healthy? Did any of these organizers give a thought to why anorexia, bulimia and depression are on the rise among young people?
I always advocate that healthy eating habits with exercise is the best way to live life. 10 -12 years old kids are too young to worry about their looks and body. They should be running around in parks with their friends with no worries in their head. At 10, I am sure I was eating as many chocolates as I could get my hands on, without worrying about anything in the world. Body image issues should be the last thing on their mind.
We definitely need more programs which teach young people to accept that bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is normal for the body to change weekly and monthly in weight and shape. They need to know that apart from looks, everyone has other positive qualities and we should focus on them.
If you are an adult and you have body image issues, do something about it instead of getting depressed. Decide how you wish to spend your time and energy. Do you want the pursuit of perfect image to occupy most of your time? Or would you rather enjoy the people and positive things in your life?
Look at yourself as a growing, changing human being and be realistic, you can’t get 20’s body in your 40’s.
Most important, be aware of your own weight prejudice. I have never met any women so far who is perfectly happy with how she looks. So don’t be too hard on yourself.
Simply be happy, eat healthy and exercise regularly, and teach younger ones the same values. Everything outside of you is merely a reflection of everything inside.
Hope everyone is having a great week.
Till next post, take care.
M from nepaliaustralian