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Friday, September 07, 2007
Our Bodies
I was a teen of the 70's. Well, the late '70's/early 80's. Jeans were tight and low, though not as low as they've been recently. Tube tops were big and so were halter tops. I was also a teen in Florida, where going to the grocery store in your bathing suit was a fairly common experience.

My best friends were all tall and lean. I was not. I was 5'4" through most of high school before having a growth spurt in my late teens and hitting 5'6". I had boobs. I had hips, but no butt. I'm part of the flat butt family. I remember staring at my stomach in the mirror. I would suck it in, hold my breath, and think....if I could just stay like this, I'd be okay.

I did Atkins at 15. I literally ate nothing but hamburger patties and peanut butter for weeks. And I peed on sticks, lots of sticks. I had to make sure that I stayed in ketosis just like the book said. I worked out. I played tennis, and I swam. And I never became tall and lean. Imagine that?

My issues with weight have lasted a lifetime. I drank shakes with Oprah and lost a lot of weight. And I gained it back. I've done Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, and psychologists. I even have my very own endocrinologist who diagnosed me with a condition that is both aggravated by and causes obesity. He also put me on thyroid medication for an underactive thyroid.

Though there is a medical basis for my weight issues, it goes much deeper than that. It's a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and emotional issues that have destroyed my metabolism as well.

Issues that started by looking at magazines and television and movies and being told that if I didn't look like them, then something was wrong with me.

The issues didn't stop with me. I have three younger sisters. Sisters I've watched go through their own issues with food and image. You show me four sisters that do not have experience with bingeing, purging, anorexia, etc..., and I'll show you a fairy tale.

This has been on my mind this last week. A beautiful young girl I know was told by her coach that if she doesn't lose 20 pounds, she will not make the varsity team again next year. She's tall and strong and a powerful player. One of the best, in fact. She is not, however, super-model thin. She has strong support on her side. I am confident that this will resolve in her favor.

I do not understand why, as a society, we have not learned how damaging this can be to our young women. We are not all alike. We are tall, short, thin, curvy, fluffy, and fat. We are blondes, brunettes, redheads, and sometimes pink and blue. We are not cookie cutters. We cannot all look alike. We don't want to look alike. Celebrate our differences, our diversity.

The other thing that brought this to mind is something I've seen all over the 'net. Long time readers may remember that I Love America. Well, I'm not alone. America loves America, too. In fact, she's all over the place. One of the things that has been so wonderful about watching her career is seeing the public embrace this curvy young women.

That's why I was so distressed when I saw this:
That head does not fit on that body. Those arms? Way too thin. She's beautiful. She didn't need to be PhotoShopped. Look to see a side-by-side comparison that definitely tells the tale.

But then this is the industry that apparently finds tall, lean, blonde Faith Hill not fit for our eyes. Watch the wonders of her being PhotoShopped here.

Now don't get me wrong. I love PhotoShop. In fact, I teach it. It's a great program with some wonderful features. I found this copy of a clip that I show that class. Don't believe what you see. It's not real.

I may be sensitive to this issue because of my past, my career, and because I have a daughter. This is one battle I will fight as long as it takes. Love us as we are. We are beautiful...inside and out.



Blogger LaLa said...

Amen sister..I think we are close to the same age. I was skinny in high school but have struggled since b/c I got such bad eating habits back then. I love that Dove ad...it reminded me of a post I did..I had to look it up (Feb '07 on my blog) and it was my fav Dove commercial. Our girls are BEAUTIFUL and I want to make sure they always feel that way but it is soooo hard sometimes to be a teenage girl ; )

Blogger i-Con said...

Wow...it's so sad what it does to our girls...AND us grown-up girls.

Lurves me as I am!

Blogger Colleen said...

I LOVE your post. Right from the heart Mag, and I love you for it. So many people have and still are struggling with weight issues. We can thank the media for most of this crap. Being home, recently I've watched some Oprah and Tyra Banks shows and was amazed at what some of these young girls are going thru. It scares me for Hannah. I am one who has tried every diet and just about every diet pill throughout my lifetime. We all have to love ourselves for what we are on the inside. Thats what does and will always count. The outside is just a shell. A shell that can be changed, modified, contoured....but the inside, the true stuff is in there.

Anonymous Sister Carrie said...

I saw that Glamour cover on your blog and didn't believe it until I saw it on the newsstand in person. Unbelievable. I hope they catch all kinds of flack for it.

I so agree with you about yo-yo dieting. Thanks for taking on this subject.

Blogger Kate said...

The whole body image thing is just a nightmare. I thank my lucky stars that I was able to work through a lot of my shtuff before having my daughter - she is still, at 7, blissfully unconcerned about her appearance. A dear friend's daughter, also 7, is already asking, "If I eat this, will I get fat?"

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