Take a look at the Mona Lisa. Take a long, close look at her. She has been the epitome of beauty for more than 400years, and yet society bombards us daily with an overwhelming amount of advertising that is convincing us that beauty and success can only be achieved if we are thin. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rembrandt painted portraits of beautiful, healthy, voluptuous women, having pleasing curves and ample bosoms. They are considered history’s geniuses, inventors, and visionaries. Their women were full of life and gave the world a feeling of control and stability. Women that could weather any storm, not blow away with a gust.
The statistics are heart breaking. 1 in 3 women hate their bodies, their temples, the givers of life, and the sustainers of the population. That’s our mothers, our daughters, our best friends, and our mentors. It’s the silent bully that stares us in the face day after day after day, glaring back from that mirror of paranoid nonsense. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, ‘90 % of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25.’ In North America, the average dress size is between 12 and 14. Yet clothing seems to be getting tighter and smaller. Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of North American women, still we strive to become this so called ‘normal’ image. How can we possibly live up to such confusing and unrealistic expectations?
In 2006, the US weight loss market was worth $54.4 billion and was 60.9 billion by 2011. These numbers include weight loss supplements, sugar free products and weight loss programs. Sure, in this world of cook-it-quick packaged lifestyles, it has become increasingly difficult to cut calories and commit to healthy choices, but wouldn’t the issues with self image be better served with mind changing programming instead of or in addition to weight loss programming? It is interesting that schools and communities have taken a stand against poor eating habits and physical education programs, but seems to be missing the core of the self demoralizing issue; poor confidence and ability to love and feel accepted in one’s own body. Maybe changing the image of beauty from within can help change the perception of beauty by the media.
When will the fashion industry and the human ideas of beauty understand that a woman shouldn’t feel guilty for being what she is, a woman. We need to realize that women come in all shapes and sizes. We need to learn how to love the way we look and focus on the parts of our bodies that are truly magnificent, not dwell on the bits that aren’t. It’s time to evolve into what nature intended us to be, real women with real bodies size 0 to 36. And we are beautiful!