I saw this ad from the 1950’s a few weeks ago. Since then I’ve been writing a post in my mind about it. There are so many directions I could take this…how body image is dictated so much by media….how women have for so long been sexualized in the media (especially in America)…how many women reading this wish we could turn back time and have these standards of beauty today…and how it always seems to boil down to those illusive ‘last ten pounds.’ (Even for the man featured in the article above, the weight gain is geared to allowing him to ‘not be a scarecrow.’)
When I consider it deeply, it’s all an illusion. But if we stick to a surface discussion, the reality is troubling. While I will always believe in the wisdom of having a healthy lifestyle (who really wants to be unnecessarily sick?!), the amount of consideration for body image in our society is incredible. And it is unfortunate.
That we determine our beauty based on what we see in print and on television makes me want to raise children on a remote island without either! (Perhaps they would face the same realities if they even wanted to assimilate into society, but hopefully you get my point ;) The images of ‘health’ girls see now is actually malnutrition. Many models have come forward and said they only looked that way because they were starving themselves to be thin. But the fact that women were taking pills to gain weight to fit the standard in the 50’s is still not a good thing.
We’ve still not reached a point in our society women (especially) are are truly valued for what’s inside (heart/mind/spirit)…the outer shell is always judged first. And, quite unfortunately, many women play into the model and find fame and fortune by sexualizing themselves.
The Mother Theresas and Malalas (and women doctors/healers/artists/engineers/activists, etc.) of the world may get a headline every now and then…but plastered on the cover of every magazine, highlighted on every website (and advertisement), dominating social media, and fiercely followed by young children are the images of women who have ‘made it’ through taking their clothes off. Yes, they might sing or dance or ‘act’ also…and it’s nice if these women give back in their spare time. But the point is that their wealth was derived from their sexuality first. The really unfortunate part of it all is that these women have become role models to younger generations and perpetuate this dangerous cycle. The message has been received by the younger generation that they must lose/gain those last 10 (or 25) pounds (and then bare it all) to matter.
We have to do better.
P.S. I thought this message was going to be about loving yourself as you are and not allowing the media to dictate beauty, but it took a different turn haha And I’m going to leave it as is ;)
Photo source: Women used to pay to gain weight? What? :)