Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let's Weigh In Ladies

Let's face it, ladies; we are not content with our own bodies: too short, fat, skinny, tall; hair is too straight, long, or grey; hips too wide, boobs too big, butt too small, or stomach is not flat enough. Do we put pressures on oursevles to look a certain way because of our perceived notion of what "others" expect us too look like? Or is it that we are so influenced by the barrage of photos of "perfect" women in every media format or because of the constant "How-To-Look-Better" stories in our magazines and talk shows? Why can we not just feel relaxed in our own bodies?

What is Normal Anyway?
All those beautiful ladies who not only are on the front cover of magazines, but modeling clothes in the magazines and online, all look of "normal" size. They absolutely look flawless, actually. But when you go out in the world - a trip to Disneyland, a bike ride along the boardwalk, or a walk around the block, those ladies that grace the covers and display our clothes reminds us they are not the norm. According to the question and answer site, Cha Cha, “50 percent of American women are size 14 or larger.” “The average waist size of women between the ages 18-30 is 29”. The average American woman wears a dress size of 11-14; according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Now that is the average of all women short or tall. (Although, I have to admit that the moms at my kid's elementary school don't fit into the "average" category, but that is a different story for a different time.)

Granted, I also just read an article that mainstream departments are now labeling clothes a size down so women will feel better about wearing a 10 when they usually wear a size 12. They now have created a size 00 for those petite women who weigh just over 100 pounds and are tired of shopping in the children’s department.
Model Fired for Not Fitting Into a Size 2
A couple of weeks ago I was feeling sick (sore throat, coughing, tired bit) and went into work late. My special treat was that I was able to watch some of the Today Show (I love the Today Show!) and caught Ann Curry’s interview with former Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton. Standing at 5’10,” weighing 120 pounds, and wearing a size 4, Hamilton claims she was fired for not being thin enough. She started modeling for Ralph Lauren when she was 15 and she has maintained her 120 pound weight for the last ten years. When I was 15 I weighed 115 pounds, wore a size 1 and let me tell you I was not attractive – honestly looked sick and emaciated. I also had not developed into a “womanly” shape by then either. Filippa said the sample size has now dropped down to a size 2.

Did you get that?! Those gals we see on the cover of magazines and promenading the most recent fad are taller than the average women and wear a size 2!

Trivia: the average height of a woman is 5 feet 3.8 inches

The BBC Interview
During my lunch hour last week I was listening to the BBC "World Have Their Say," and they were interviewing a fashion designer, an editor of a fashion magazine, and a model on the topic, “Do you want Fantasy or Reality in Women’s Magazines?”

It was such a great interview and I love it when people from all over the world call in and share their opinions. The interviewees all did agree and pointed out that if you are trying out for the basketball, volleyball, or swim team there is a size or look that is required such as tall or muscular or what have you. Even if you want to be a doctor or lawyer, you need to have the credentials to apply for the job. This idea also applies to being a model, according to them.

The fashion designer on the radio interview was currently on site of her fashion show, also agreed that she just wanted to portray healthy looking women. The model who was being interviewed was starting to list all the side effects a women underweight (and was interrupted) went through such as no menstrual period for one (I don’t know the others. Do any of you?). It is not healthy when a woman is underweight and she is not portraying healthy women.

The interviewees also stressed that the women on the runway and in the magazines ARE real women. In the end they all agreed that allowing women up to size 6 would be acceptable.

Here is what one person commented on their site:

Justin in Iowa October 15, 2009 at 14:27
I don’t think its a matter of wanting fantasy or reality – how about what looks good and what doesn’t? I think an unhealthy, emaciated, stick thin woman looks less attractive than a healthy, curvy woman. Everyone has their different attractions, it would be nice if magazines and fashion recognized this. Right now, the only look is thin and unhealthy, and that is simply un-attainable for a large majority of women out there. And they shouldn’t feel like they need to fit that image.
Thank you Jason!
The Fashion Show
When I was in Australia at age 18 years old I helped behind the scenes of a fashion show. I was to help the models put on their clothes. They shamelessly took their clothes off in front of me and I zipped and hung clothes for the next two hours. I listened to the models talk, “did you see so and so’s bottom? She needs to loose weight. She can’t hide that any more. Did you see so and so’s whatever and how big it is?!” Like it was such a tragedy. I knew then I didn’t want to be part of that industry because I knew I couldn’t handle my own nor someone else’s criticism of my own body.

Glamour Applauded for Photo of 'Real' Woman
In September Glamour ran a photo in their magazine that gained them so much attention. It was a picture of a model “who's become known as ‘the woman on pg. 194’ -- 20-year-old Lizzi Miller, an avid softball player, belly dancer and plus-size model.” She stands at 5’11” and weighs 180 pounds. “I’m healthy and I work out; I live a healthy lifestyle. This is how I look; I embrace it.”

“One reader wrote to Glamour saying, ‘Get this hot momma off of page 194 and put her on the cover!’ Another reader said, ‘Thank you for showing a picture of a BEAUTIFUL woman who has a stomach and thighs that look like mine! I have NEVER seen that in a magazine before.’” (msnbc)


Let’s Be Healthy and Support People for Who They ARE!
Here is the thing ladies, babies are being born, cities and people are being threatened by terrorists, our healthcare could be better, family members are dieing of cancer, children are laughing and playing at the beach, the sun comes up and goes down, and God reveals his beauty everyday. Why then are we (me so included) so consumed with our body image? If we eat healthy and exercise regularly we should not care what size or weight we are. Let’s grow in love more with people, let’s support our fellow women, let’s help the people on the streets, let’s be good citizens and be more concerned about the bigger picture than being consumed with our bodies. When it comes down to it, we love people for who they are not for what they look like. Let’s support one another, strive for healthiness, and STOP worrying about our weight and size.

What do you think about the images of women you see in magazine, catalogs, and TV? Are you content with your body size?

Nothing to do with anything, I just like JCrew.

5 comments:

  1. It's so sad how influential and powerful the media is on us.

    I am pregnant right now, and it's sad to see the battle continue. Most of the time I LOVE being pregnant because I feel out of the "skinny competition." So freeing! Other times I feel uncomfy in my skin as I long to workout and be thin like those I see around me!

    Thank goodness I have a loving and reassuring husband that reminds me to be healthy. All the negative pressure I absorb from the media, he helps me filter through!

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  2. What a great posting! I was thrilled when the picture Glamour magazine published got so much attention. The real issue, though, is "did it change anything?". Have we seen more magazines with "average" women in them? It sure would be nice if we did - especially for our daughters! I think society has placed such great emphasis on how we look, how thin we are (or not), how young we look, how sexy we look, etc. There is no embracing any flaws - period! Look at the television shows...esp. shows like Desperate Housewives. The women on that show are STICKS! I think most all of us struggle with weight..but I have come to the place in life that I am OK with the size I am. I certainly would look better if I lost 10 or 15 lbs., but I am not willing to do what I'd need to to get there. So, I'm just trying to be healthy - eat right, exercise and embrace who I am. There ARE so many more important things in life to worry about and we do need to stop worrying about how we look and just embrace eachother and ourselves! In my opinion, when you have been lucky enough to have friends that are absolutely beautiful on the inside it makes them more beautiful (then those skinny models) to me on the outside.

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  3. Thanks for this Sharon! As a tall (5'11 1/2") woman who wears a size 10 or 12, this is a huge issue for me! I compare myself to the models based on dress size alone sometimes. I think, how can a woman my height be a size 2?! Then I think, "wait, should I be a size 2?" But when I see pictures (or video) of myself, I am usually pretty satisfied with my size. Of course looking in the mirror is a different story, but when I realize how others perceive me, I'm ok.
    I think that this is big with women, we dont even realize that other people think we look great and dont compare us to the skinny models. For example, people have always told me that I should be a model (because I'm tall, I suppose), and are always surprised when I say I'd have to be a plus size model or lose 60 punds. They think I'm being crazy by saying that because a 6 foot girl who wears a size 12 looks thin to normal people!

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  4. I've always been a fan of plus-size models! There's a great site with many images of plus-size models here:

    http://www.judgmentofparis.com/

    They're all gorgeous.

    The site's forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

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  5. Yes, I am often consumed w/ my weight, but when I was pregnant I didn't even care. I felt so free from that concern! It felt good not to worry - and my doctors were not worried when I gained 50 pounds either - and that felt good too. I was a little concerned I wouldn't work off the weight after the baby was born, but at the time really it was not a big worry. It was a nice time in life when weight and appearance didn't matter to me and then the fun thing is that is when my husband thought I was the most attractive. Maybe bc I wasn't worried and consumed about something that really didn't matter. I just tried to eat right and get exercise and that was that! Enjoy your time being pregnant.

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