My Weighty Story: Weight Image Problems

Image problems. We all have them, no matter what our weight, size, or shape.  How can we not when standing in line at the grocery store, the pharmacy, the drug store, etc., and there are all the magazines there at the checkout with headlines of “How to lose those last 10 pounds?”, “How I lost 50lbs is 2 months?”,  or the pictures of actresses either overweight or so thin their bones are showing.

Are there health risks to being heavier? ABSOLUTELY! I’m not denying that.  But there are also health risks to being too thin also. Then I came across THIS on my Facebook news feed about a month ago, and I just can’t seem to shake it off.

Now, let me start with this. I do believe everyone should have safe and respectful work environments, and if models are not in that type of environment, then MORE POWER to them for standing up and saying they want some basic protections.  Please do not let my rant from here on out discredit that.  However, my problem lies in the mixed message they send with this video.

Susan Scafidi, Director of the Fashion Law Institute states that they “want to make sure that the beautiful images that they create are backed up by the moral expectations.” Another one of the models stated that they want to help “empower healthy body and minds “. I find it very hard to take those statements seriously, when some of the models that are in that promotional video, do not look to be of a healthy weight. Yes, some of them are “well proportioned” and not overly thin, but there are some there that are in my opinion, too thin. Having shadows in the cheek hollows, boney shoulders, collarbones sticking out, hollowed eyes; that is not empowering a healthy body or mind, or even “making sure that the ‘beautiful’ images are backed up by moral expectations. “ How can they call having someone who is below a size 0 healthy and part of a beautiful image or being a morally healthy projected image?

After a quick Google search for “what are the requirements for being a model” and I was lead to a site that has a section called “Fashion Model Size Requirements”. I imagine that millions of teens look to these “requirements” to determine what weight and dimensions they should be.  On the site, this is what I found.

Commercial Modeling:

female should be between 5’6 and 5’11

male should be between 5’9 and to 6’2

Editorial / Fashion modeling:

female should be between 5’8 and 6’0; weighing 90lb-120lb

male should be between 5’9 and 6’2; weighing 120lb-170lb

Plus-Size models should be between 5’8 and 6’2; and be a size 10-14

Since when is being 5’9” and 110 lbs ( taking the average of the female height and weight ) HEALTHY! And how is that projecting a positive moral expectation upon the human race. The average American Woman is a size 14, and that just BARELY gets you into the PLUS SIZE Modeling section. (Yes I understand that globally, the American Woman size is slightly larger than the global average, which I believe I read somewhere is like a size 9, so its not that far off people. )

Yet we are bombarded with magazines, condemning how every celebrity looks because they are not a size 0. It is no wonder that actresses, teens, and little girls are constantly calling themselves fat, and looking for the next diet craze out there to lose weight.

My daughter is only 13 years old, and has had to endure more than her fair share of teasing about her weight, even though she is NOT overweight at all. ( I’ve heard the same thing from her friends, so this is not just about my child. ) She even mentioned one day coming home from dance practice ( which has its own weight issues as a “society” to tell ) and said that she looked around and there are TONS of super skinny girls in her new dance studio. She is right. There are, but there are other girls that have the same shape she does ( and larger ), and I made a point at pointing them out to her. It made me realize that even at 13 years old, all girls see is the super skinny, and how they are not that thin, even if they are the minority.  ( However she also said last week on the way to her strength, flexibility and conditioning class in regards to how flexible some of those girls are, that “There is no humanity there. Only flexible droids.” I couldn’t help but laugh. )

It is something as a parent, I struggle with. I work hard at showing her that weight isn’t everything, even though I am trying to lose a bunch of it myself. I try to tell her that I’m losing weight because of my family health history, and that I want to be healthier to make sure that I’m around to embarrass and be there for her for a long time.  I know she struggles with how she views herself. She’s a teenager, every teen does. I know that there are days she feels as big as a house, and others that she just doesn’t care and wants to eat a whole cake to herself. Even if she doesn’t tell us that, we know it, and the Husband Unit and I try to teach her that while she should watch her weight, to keep from getting in my position, don’t get caught up in it to the point of being unhealthy.

It breaks my heart when she is trim and well proportioned, and then she comes to me and tells me how she feels fat or that someone was teasing her about her weight. This is a societal problem. We have to find a way to change the way media perceives weight and what is a “healthy” body image. I don’t know where or how to start, but I do think it needs to start with the celebrities and other people who do occasionally stand up for how they look.  You’ve heard some of them doing it. I forget who it was that was shamed publicly for still being “overweight” after having a baby 3 or 4 months prior ( Jessica Simpson maybe?), and she said some thing like, “Well it took 9 months to put this weight on, it’s not gonna come off in just 3 months.” You have to applaud people for that.

However, my favorite one thus far is this one ( though partly because I love her anyways ):

I couldn’t have said it better myself. So if Jennifer Lawrence is overweight… then I will be overweight with her (soon).

Edit: Sorry for the previous formatting. I had this scheduled to automatically post, and something WONKY happened with the formatting.

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