Body Image and Eating Disorders, Young Women and the Media – Let’s Be Proactive for Our Girls

Body Image issues seem to be part of life for women and girls these days. The magazines still show these anorexic looking models. They should know better than to only show the super thin models.

There are plenty of perfectly beautiful girls and women that are a size 9 , size 12 and size 16 and more.

Magazines create the illusion that the perfect body image is thin. It has been proven that girls look at these models as a role model for body image.

There has been an increase in eating disorders over the last several decades (research by Pyle, Halvorson, Neuman and Mitchell). Research shows that there are 10 times the amount of articles and advertisements promoting weight loss in women’s magazines as compared to men’s.

In a study by Irving in 1990, there was evidence that women exposed to pictures of thin models experienced a drop in self esteem and a dissatisfaction with their body weight.

Young women ( and some young men) are becoming ill and some are dying due to the irresponsibility of the media to show the truth. Internalization of a thin ideal weight has a direct correlation with body dissatisfaction and consequently eating disorders.

The young girls see the super skinny, computer enhanced images and think this is normal. They wonder what is wrong with them and think they need to starve themselves to be beautiful.

The results of this are malnutrition, inhibited development, slower cognitive function, lower test scores, severe anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, suicide and other co-morbidities. Anorexia can cause muscle tissue loss, heart failure and brain damage.

There becomes a tremendous sense of lack of control of their bodies which turns into mental illnesses. In their attempt to match these super skinnies, they end up losing their beautiful figure and becoming a malnourished person who has a lower resistance to infection and disease.

Is this how we want things to continue?

The media needs to take some responsibility and be held accountable for the unrealistic body image they are portraying.

Be vigilant with your daughters, sisters, friends and students. Point out the pictures of the skinny, anorexic looking models and tell your them that it is unhealthy and not the norm. The average size of adult women in the US is size 12, not size 2.

The girls think that men only like skinny women. This is not true. Men love women of all shapes and sizes. Men have individual preferences. Let the girls know that there are lots of men who love curvy women.
Protect our young women with awareness!
God Bless,
Namaste,
Annie

Accepting Ourselves for Who We Are

There is a great healing that can come from accepting ourselves just as we are. To accept ourselves as a special person with strengths and weaknesses.

No one is perfect although so many would like you to think so. People act as though they are better than you but they are not.

This does not mean that we cannot strive for improvement. Accepting ourselves with all of our shortcomings and disabilities is ok.

This does not imply complacency. It does not limit us in any way. In fact it opens us up to new possibilities.

It allows us to believe that perhaps we can accomplish great things.

If we see ourselves as others do , we cannot explore new versions of ourselves that we could experience.

If we only see our mistakes, our limitations, then how can we open our own wings and fly?

What accepting ourselves does is allow us to forgive our own shortcomings and have some compassion towards ourselves. Perhaps some sense of humor about our “current” limitations and idiosyncrasies.

We are so compassionate and forgiving of others. We understand and let go so many mistakes and flaws in other people. We put up with mistakes and inabilities of other people every day.

Why can’t we accept ourselves for who we are?

Each one of us is made up of talent, skill, beauty, love, mistakes, flaws, disabilities and strengths. We are, each of us, a unique being in the universe.

In our uniqueness we are special and significant.

We are no less worthy of forgiveness and acceptance than the others. No less worthy than the ones we give the gift of grace and mercy to every day.

Let us open the box that other people have put us into. The little box that we feel we belong in.

We can go beyond the “us” that other people see, perceive and tell us we are.

Dare to do something that people who “know” us would say we can’t do.

Who are They to say we are…
too fat
too dumb
too afraid
too uneducated
too quiet
too shy
too loud
too impulsive
too set in our ways
too sloppy
too independent
too compliant

Who are They to say that we are only…
a nurse
a teacher
a stay at home mom
a working Mom
a playboy
a rebel
a womanizer
an addict
a mental case

Who are They to say that we can’t…
change jobs
change cities
change our minds!
get married
get divorced
learn yoga
dance
go to college
learn something new

Who are They to say that we have no right to…
talk to them
stand up to them
defy them
leave them

Who are They to say that we can’t become…
a poet
a businessman
an entrepreneur
a parent
a friend
a traveller
a lesbian
a mother
a spiritual advisor
a leader of men
a thinker of new ideas
a creator
a visionary
Ourselves

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