Every time I decide not to write about body image for awhile it seems as if I am confronted by the “perfect storm” of related media or experiences, and suddenly I find myself blogging about body image yet again. This time is no different; the tipping point was my discovery of In Touch’s “Body News” section, thanks to Jezebel’s Midweek Madness.
This idea that any publication would actually see fit to have an entire section just devoted to reporting on people’s bodies blew me away. After digging a bit more in that same Jezebel piece, however, I became much less surprised. Take the image (at left) from this week’s STAR Magazine. Although they don’t have a specific bodies section (that I am aware of) they do plenty of reporting on the changes in celebrity’s bodies. This article in particular makes me mad because it implies that Rue was lying when she was heavier and she said she loved her body, since she is now thin and also loves her body.
As someone who has made a lot of lifestyle changes in order to become healthier, I can confidently say now that I don’t love my body any more or less than I did ten pounds ago. However, as I wrote about, in the midst of this change I did go through a period of low self esteem… but that wasn’t because I was heavier, rather, it was because I started to actively try and diet rather than just improve my nutrition and move a bit more.
I have good days and bad days, just like most people, but the best thing I have ever done for myself is committing to the Health at Every Size movement, and working to love my body regardless of what it weighs and take care of it to the best of my ability without worrying about how that care will make me look.
Articles like this one from STAR imply that people who are not skinny cannot be happy with their bodies… if they say they are they are lying. I resent that because body acceptance isn’t a size, it’s a state of mind, and to deny that fact in print is to encourage your readers to feel uncomfortable in their own skin in the name of “health.”
If you click through to the Jezebel article there are several more cringe-inducing examples including a spread devoted to comparing Kardashian butts and a description of what Ke$ha ate one day that adds up to a bit over 500 calories (for the record, women are advised to eat at least 1200 a day by pretty much every diet plan out there.)
An even scarier message about weight and body image, however, came to me earlier this week via VH1’s new reality show, Money Hungry.
On this show contestants compete in teams of two to win a $100,000 pot (that each team contributed $10,000 to) by losing as much weight as they can, as quickly as possible. Each episode. whatever team loses the least amount of weight (percentage wise, based on the team’s cumulative weight from the last week) is kicked off (unless that team has won immunity for the week.)
When I first sat down and watched this by chance with my brother I was literally raging (much to his dismay, since I didn’t shut up for most of the episode.) Weight Loss Competitions are exploitative, there is no doubt about that, but this show takes that exploitation to the next level by requiring the contestants to foot the bill for the prize.