Debate regarding ‘right’ female body image misguided
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 01:01
Our world loves skinniness.
From "America’s Next Top Model" to an advertisement for a new bar in town, it’s obvious that a certain body type is preferable. We’ve all seen the emaciated bodies wobbling down high-fashion runways. The pressure to be thin is a well-known and oft-discussed topic, especially in America.
But recently, campaigns have started highlighting "real" women – that is to say, women with natural curves and bodies that have a body mass index higher than a teen value.
While these operations to promote body acceptance and celebration are doing a wonderful service to everyday women in America, often, these messages are misconstrued to be at a disadvantage to other body types.
Take, for example, the Facebook group I stumbled upon the other day proclaiming that "real women have curves," and "men don’t like sticks."
Or perhaps you’ve heard the phrase "skinny bitch," a common nickname that places a certain body type into one convenient and negative category.
Before I get myself in trouble, let me first say that I respect anyone, man or woman, who owns up to who they are – what they stand for, what they do, and yes, even what they look like. Accepting the good and bad facets of ourselves is an integral part to growing up and generating self-confidence.
So when any derivative of such a positive campaign is misrepresented to hurt another group of people, regardless of my own personal body type, I am offended.
Yes, the pressure to be thin is immense, and the fact that most people cannot fit into the smallest clothing size only makes this pressure more extreme. But apparently, even organizations promoting a "normal" size are used as weapons against those who happen to fall into the "skinny" category. We are waging a war against each other – this time, not over politics or religion, but the size of our jeans.
News flash: neither side of this debate is correct. In fact, there is no "right" answer to what size a person should be. Sure, we have doctors who can tell us what our ideal, healthy weight should be, but this is not for vanity – it’s for our own well-being.
And while we’re on the topic of vanity, there is no specific size that men or women have that is completely irresistible to the opposite sex. As Dita Von Teese said, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches."
So why are we still pitting ourselves against each other?
For the longest time, the media was to blame. It was the media’s fault for idolizing this irrational image on the billboards, in the movies and in the commercials on television. It was the media that caused that girl we all know to start throwing up after meals, and it was the media that cast down everyone else who couldn’t achieve the "ideal" body.
But now it’s on us. It’s the everyday person who looks down on anyone else for their body size who is to blame now. It’s the larger women calling skinny women "twigs," proclaiming curvy women are more desirable because of their larger figures. It’s the skinny people who call larger people "fat" – a term so infamous these days it should be considered the new f-word.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what side of the battle you’re on. You can be fat or skinny or any multitude of adjectives in between. So be that juicy peach, or apple, or pear, or orange – hell, be a carrot. All that’s important is accepting and loving who you are; others will soon follow.