Body Image

What’s your body image?

Recently I heard that approximately 80% of American women hate their bodies. Do you suppose that’s true? 80% is a lot. And do you think it actually has anything to do with how their bodies look? I mean, is it about size and shape or is it, more likely, about pressure and expectations? And if so where did that pressure originate?

I’m told that men tend to be more attracted to fuller figures and yet I’m not sure I can name one woman who doesn’t want to be thinner…even if she’s the approximate width of a paper clip. But maybe that’s not the norm. Maybe there are women out there who wake up every morning, look in the mirror and go…wow…I’m amazing. I mean, that’s possible, right? But does anyone know any of those mythical women?

Do you think the celebrities we admire feel that way? Or is their particular brand of pressure so intense they loath their bodies. Are their standards so strict that they turn to drugs and alcohol and suicide as an escape?

There are actresses, of course, who are so gorgeous that the average person (me) assumes she could not possible be unhappy about her looks. Jessica Alba and Natalie Portman come to mind. On the other hand, there are others like Queen Latifah who seem unshakably confident about their figures even if they don’t fit into the average American’s idea of ‘perfect.’  What does it all mean? Is it our own phobias and insecurities that determine whether we’re happy with ourselves? Or is it the standards others have set? Are those standards changing?

And what about age? I’ve heard that as time passes, we tend to become more forgiving of ourselves. More accepting of our imperfections? Do you think that’s true? It’s a nice thought. But how old do you think one has to be? Because half a century hasn’t really done it for me…

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13 Responses to Body Image

  1. Kylie Brant says:

    Well years are passing and I remain unforgiving of my reflection 🙂 Doesn’t mean I do anything about it, though, LOL. I’ve been obsessed with my weight since I was 14 and that’s sort of sad, isn’t it? At some point shouldn’t I have come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to ever look like a spaghetti noodle? That ginormous ta-tas typically don’t come atop a twiggy body? Not so much.

    What I noticed about the younger generation is that they appear to be much more comfortable with their self-image. Evidenced by the muffin tops and fashion NOs that get worn–they wear the styles regardless of how they look in them. And isn’t that because they aren’t as unforgiving of their reflections?

    My daughter (who lacks her mother’s ta-tas and weight obsession) has never been very big but she has an extremely healthy body image. She has always eaten well, exercised and just generally seems to be at peace with her figure. I’d like a little of that peace. I’d like not to hate my pictures 🙂

  2. lois greiman says:

    That is kind of sad, Kylie. Let’s make a pact to accept ourselves. On the other hand, congrats on raising a daughter who is healthier than we are.

  3. cindy gerard says:

    Put me in the unhappy group. When I was a teen and even a young woman, I was thin and flat chested – always thought I was fat and wished I had Ta-Tas like Kylie :o)

    Now that I’m ooollddd, I’m round with nice ta-tas – and I’m still not happy :o)

    And yes, it’s a very sad commentary.

  4. Michele says:

    I find I can look in the mirror and be happy with what I got. And I could do that before I lost weight, as well. Not an overjoyed ‘oh, look at gorgeous you!’ happy, but a ‘you’re not so bad’, kind of happy. You know? We’ve lived in these bodies for decades and done amazing things with them. Why not be satisfied with what we’ve got? That said, with mention of ta-tas above, those are the things I don’t have to always be happy about. Oh, gravity.

  5. lois greiman says:

    Cindy, you need to go back to Italy for some flattery! It sounds like the men there know how to do it.

    And Michele, yay for you. You should give lessons.

  6. Helen Brenna says:

    Just had a physical and had all kinds of tests run on my blood – I’m healthy and that’s the most important thing. Sure I’d love to lose 10 lbs, but it’s not looking like that’s going to happen. Besides, it ain’t all bad. I have cleavage!

    Any time I’m bumming about my weight, I think of Susan Sarandon. She’s gained some weight through the years, but she is still sexy and confident.

  7. lois greiman says:

    Health is so tied into the whole weight thing and yet I sometimes forget about it. I don’t think that’s a good sign.

  8. Mary Louise says:

    Gosh, what a question. I have struggled with weight my whole life. Several times I flunked out of Weight Watchers. Then about 2 years ago I saw a nutritionist, tweaked a few things in my diet, visit the gym every day and lost about 20 lbs. Now I have a better relationship with my body, its leaner and firmer and I run faster. And hopefully healthier. What got me to the nutritionist? As a part time fitness instructor I wanted to project a healthly image to women in my class and let them know what is possible, regardless of age. (I feel you Lois, but I have a few years on you.) Mary Louise

  9. Denise says:

    I’ve never been happy with me. I try to eat healthy, but absoluely hate exercise, but try to do it. Not very good at it. Lost weight through surgery and was happy for a while, but now have excess skin. Of course, no $$$ to get that taken care of, so back to not being happy again. I’ve always been a heavy child and got teased because of it, and I think that really did a number on my self-confidence.

  10. lois greiman says:

    Denise, this is such a difficult thing, isn’t it? I think that a lot of us eat when we feel badly about ourselves. So it’s a vicious cycle. One of the things that has helped me most is to find an exercise that I can do for a lifetime. Walking, for me, is that exercise. It’s easy, free, and helps get my head on right. If I’m really motivated I run a little, but I give myself permission to just walk.

    I hope you find your happiness, Denise.

  11. My husband gets up every morning, looks in the mirror and says, “Damn, I look good!” I get up every morning, look in the mirror and get depressed. Okay, there is an upside. He looks at me through eyes of love, sees the 20-year-old I used to be and spends a lot of time chasing me around the house. That should be enough. Right? Wrong. Just a few minutes ago, I ordered The Carb Lovers Diet from Amazon. I know, I’m hopeless.
    What a great topic! I do think the younger generation isn’t as fixated on size as my generation is and that is a beautiful thing.

  12. Betina says:

    Count me in the “dieting-since-I-was-four-years-old” group. I’ve always been “plump” and quite healthy(until recently). . . but I’ve always wished to be thinner and more active and attractive in clothes. Mostly the clothes thing. I’ve done Weight Watchers three times now and made it to goal some years back. I was even a WW leader for a year or so and loved it. The money stunk, but it was a great experience that helped me make peace with my body. I’d love to lose those pounds again, but I’m quite happy with many parts of me. . . originals and replacements.

    Every woman knows where her “appearance equity” lies. We know if we have great nails and elegant hands; lush, healthy hair with great color; or vivid, unusual eyes; or a winning smile. And good teeth. . . I have those and I’ll be forever grateful for them. Some men really appreciate a neat pair of ankles, believe it or not. And for others, a cute little nose is a deal-cincher. There’s something for everybody in this world. And thank Heaven for that!

  13. Leanne Banks says:

    I am actually working on this. I used to be a stick and while I’m still in the okay weight range, it’s disconcerting to see my body — That said, these are the things I keep saying to myself. 1.It could be a lot worse.:) 2.No one pays me to look like a model. 3. I just wanna try to do the best I can without making myself too cranky.:) As we age, beauty on the inside really becomes more important than what’s on the outside.

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