You may or may not know this but I am 100% bi-sexual. Me and a girlfriend of mine got into a debate about what is pretty and what is not. So as I often say now, "OFF TO THINK ATHEIST INTERWEBS TO ASK RATIONAL PEOPLE!"
So here I am with a few questions:
I will be at work most of the day but I will be able to read most of your responses on my phone.
The post production work is used to enhance and exaggerate appealing aspects and to hide perceived flaws. It could be argued that women who wear makeup or perfume do the same thing to a different degree. I'm sure many would be perfectly fine arguing that, too. I wouldn't disagree too much other than to point out that this desire for projecting outward beauty is innate and not gender specific, by and large.
Maybe I am not most men, but I prefer more natural looking women of various shapes and sizes. That being said, I think us men will stop wondering why even a beautiful woman doesn't come up to scratch when women stop wondering why they can't find a nice guy.
Gauntlet = Thrown. :p
If we're to fight the body image problems girls have, we need to do it at the girl. We can't change anything else, really. Vogue is not going to start having average-looking women. Being average or "normal" will never be an ideal. By their nature, ideals are a bit out of reach for most, be they physical ideals for females or athletic ideals for males. And, while perhaps not to the same degree, boys are affected by ideals, too. Trying too hard to achieve an ideal body or feeling less of themselves for their inability to do so. And in a world where the average penis is 5 or 6 inches, how does it make boys feel to see porn featuring guys who exceed that range by a few inches. Almost nothing can be done about penis size. At least one does, to some extent, have control over much of his or her physique. By doing it "at the girl" I mean we need to educate our girls to understand the real role of ideas and arm them with attitudes to resist them. As long as we have freedom of speech and expression, fashion magazines will present ideals.
There is another reason to work on girls' attitudes about their bodies with a mind to having them more concerned with health than body configuation, and that is that, despite the undue attention spent on anorexia, FAR more women will die of matters related to overweight than underweight or malnutritiion. At the other dysfunctional extreme is the "fat acceptance" movement, which is full of women who are going to die relatively early in life of heart attacks or diabetes.
When you look at the CDC's cause of death statistics, anorexia and even anorexia-related causes of death are WAY down the list. Here are the top 10. Note Anorexia's absence.
1) Heart disease 25.1
2) Cancer 22.1
3) Stroke 6.7
4) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.5
5) Alzheimer's disease 4.3
6) Unintentional injuries 3.6
7) Diabetes 2.9
8) Influenza and pneumonia 2.3
9) Kidney disease 2.0
10) Septicemia 1.6
Yes, anorexia might contribute to a couple of them, but I'm sure in most cases, the role of anorexia is a relatively small contributor. Being overweight, on the other hand, is a far bigger contributor to female mortality. It's clear, if we're to err, which error is in the better interest of the girl.
But back to my main point. We can't change the world and I really think it may be unwise to de-idealize the world. Rather, we should be teaching our daughters good nutrition, the value of getting the kind of body you get with plenty of exercise, and that there is someone out there for everyone who just takes good care of her body.
You can't compare overweight with aneroxia like that, apples and oranges.
First of all overweight and underweight are part of a normal distribution of people's body masses. Underweight is not a mild form of anorexia. Overweight need not be a mild form of obesity. There are a variety of causes.
Anorexia is a (chronic) mental disease, about 20% of anorexic patients die, due to the disease or of the complications. The prevalence of Anorexia Nervosa is between 0.5 and 2% of the population and roughly 90% of them are female.
Compared to people with (serious) overweight, anorexic patients are not detectable on the same graph. So even though the dangers for anorexic patients are far higher, far more lethal and far more acute, they do not show up in those statistics.
Then the statistics on eating disorders that can be traced back almost or entirely to the pressure put on your average girl to become a glossy centerfold who's always surrounded by a semi-transparent mist, bathed in a soft warm light so as to equalize any possible irregularity on their skin - are nothing short of alarming. There's a lot of erring involved alright. But it is not on the side that's in the better interest of the girl.
In the way you want to change the world however I can find no objection.
Look, walking down the street or through the mall, clearly I will see that more than 50% of females (perhaps as much as 70%-80% in the midwest, somewhat less on the coasts) are overweight to an unhealthy degree. It's hard to hide anorexia. I can walk through a busy mall and see very few women who are anorexic. I can see plenty of slender women, but slenderness isn't anorexia. Most of the the overweight women will lead shorter lives and will die most likely of weight-related causes. If anorexia killed every single sufferer and not 20% it'd still be a far smaller problem than causes related to overweight.
BTW, anorexia statistics are all over the place with death rates of sufferers being stated as anywhere from 5% to 20%, so you quoted the high statistic. It doesn't really matter though, being overweight is a far greater cause of ill health among women and the amount of attention NOT paid to it by feminists over the years should be a scandal. Instead, they saw weight as a politcal issue to be cashed in on, along with breast cancer, and so only recently have the more level-headed feminists started taking on overweight by stressing healthy living in general over more politically inflammatory issues.
Yes I am not disagreeing with you that overweight is a serious health problem and that it shortens life span considerably, nor that there are more women that are overweight than there are anorexic, in fact I spend some words on stressing why that is one of the reasons you can't compare those figures. And I am also not disagreeing with you that healthy food patters and regular exercise is a very good idea. It surely is, not only physically but also mentally.
Again you cannot compare those who suffer from anorexia with the average woman and/ or the dangers involved with overweight. Anorexic patients are usually young for instance starting at 10 with a tail extending to 30 or so. It is by far the deadliest disease for young women.
Also this doesn't take away the prevalence of pathological dieting habits among (very) young girls, which only have the effect of long term weight increase. They form a continuing new influx of serious sufferers of eating disorders, with the potential to progress even further into misery, depression, distorted self-image and so on.
While it is probably true that you are right that this is just the way it is, with these unrealistic role-models pushed on all those ordinary girls out there or perhaps they push on each other, or both. Sex sells and plastic even more and that's a fact. But that doesn't mean that you should embrace it and encourage girls to adapt to it because it would be so healthy for them if they could.
That's not the solution, that's the problem. Or at least a significant part of it.
Sex sells and plastic even more and that's a fact. But that doesn't mean that you should embrace it and encourage girls to adapt to it because it would be so healthy for them if they could.
Well, that's kind of what I said. You need to attack the problem at the girl. The world won't change, at least not in time to help anyone in the long term. And if the price is giving up ideals which are out of reach, that is too high a price to pay. We should always be striving toward something which is out of reach. We should just learn at the same time to be realistic. We can't all be a 6 foot tall fashion model, and Superbowl champion quarterback, or the person who cures cancer, and we need to learn to strive toward ideals without beating ourselves up when we fall short. We need to teach our girls to strive toward health even in the face of unrealistic ideals.
I repeat that I have no issue with that. It would be great if it would work.
It's our only hope, but if we want to have a positive impact on women's health overall, we should be discouraging women from overeating, not wringing our hands about anorexia.
You talk like it's an either/or option. Both practices are unhealthy, and lead to or are derived from some pretty bad body consciousness or self-image issues. Not everyone needs to be at the peak of fitness, but striving toward general health from all directions would be a good thing.
You have bought into myths perpetuated by an industry that makes billions and billions and billions of dollars convincing people about the dangers of being overweight. It is actually possible to be overweight and healthy. And, indeed, the actual science is not nearly as conclusive as we've been told (sold?) about the overall health and longevity impact of being overweight (except probably for people who are at 40 BMI or more) as the industry would have us believe. This book does a pretty good job of reviewing the science and debunking many of the myths http://www.lindabacon.org/HAESbook/ .
Yes, I am absolutely on board with healthy living but that is not actually what is being promoted by these "dangers of obesity" pitches - we have an extreme cultural bias towards viewing thin as attractive (which most women internalize) - and, sure, the words may say health and wellness and fitness, blah, blah, blah but the images say be thin, for example this ad campaign for fitness centers using female models who do not look particularly fit: http://q.equinox.com/articles/2011/12/terry-richardson-campaign?soc.... It is possible to be overweight and healthy - we just don't want to accept that truth because what we really want is to be attractive (and attractive = thin) not healthy. It just sounds less shallow to say that we are after health.
RE: "It is possible to be overweight and healthy"
With all due respect Cecilia, carrying extra weight adds extra work to the heart and squeezes blood vessels, constricting them and reducing blood flow. There's simply no way that can be healthy.
Of course there's hype out there, and I'm not condoning it. Men are accused of wearing the same outfits forever, while women are stereotypically accused of shopping at every opportunity. Much of that is because women are targeted by ad hype and made to feel that if they don't wear the latest, they're somehow less worthy.
Much of American advertising is geared to play on the insecurities of women, which implies advertisers believe women to be less secure and more capable of being manipulated than men, and to a degree this is true, because our society, that begins in the family unit, doesn't seem - at least as yet - to value the emotional security of girls as much as boys.
This is changing, and I'm happy to see it, but we've still a long way to go,
But whether men or women, there's nothing healthy about being overweight. That's a myth generally perpetrated by overweight people.
Please do some research the science, as I said, is not nearly as slam dunk as we have been led to believe...and, pray tell, who are these "overweight people" perpetuating this myth? A woman who is 5'3" and weights 160 pounds is considered overweight. End of discussion, she is doomed. I know this is anecdotal evidence but what if that women has excellent cholesterol levels, blood pressure, eats a healthy diet (mostly plant protein, e.g., black beans, lentils, etc, quality carbs - quinoa, brown rice, quality fats - olive oil, etc, we all know what a healthy diet is) does 5-6 hours of high intensity cardio and lifts weights, does yoga? In our society we will still say that she is not, can't possibly be (shocking to even think it) healthy...because she is fat. And the reason we think that is that we are so brainwashed to believe that thin = healthy it is painful for us to think otherwise, hurts our brains. And, yes, even that woman I described has a difficult time accepting herself as healthy even though on an intellectual level she knows she is. Again, there is research that shows that her health and longevity prospects are just fine, thank you very much, we just don't hear about it much because where is the $$$ in that?