Body Image Buzzkill

10 comments | April 21st, 2012

(story submitted anonymously, by an 18 yo Chestist) ~ On Repeat

Yesterday we spoke at the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham about the Medi and Public Health Act.  Along with other panelists, the conversation touched on what we're eaching doing to perpetutate, create and/or change norms.  It's with this in mind, that we re-share this user-submitted story from Februrary.  Here it is: 


On our FB page the other day we posted a Teddy Roosevelt quote reading "comparison is the thief of joy."  No doubt, and to think he lived before mass, popular culture.  This reader writes us with a story that takes us to a similar space.  Here's her story:

I'm 18 and have been struggling with my body image since I was 12.

I've never been overweight, but compared to the girls in magazines and all over TV, I'm huge.  I've struggled so much with comparing myself to others, starving myself and purging. As hard as I try to not have these feelings, and I try to think "maybe I can be normal and healthy and accept my body" that mentality only lasts a little while, and then I get sucked back in and the insecurities start to mess with my head again.

It's like an ongoing battle that never stops eating at you. I notice I feel much worse about myself after looking at magazines.. or watching shows like "America's Next Top Model" where the girls are so thin, they look as though they are about to disappear.  It's not fair that society, especially the modeling industry get to choose what "thin" is and what "beautiful" is. They think in order to look beautiful, you must be a size 00.   I've seen girls who are a size 10 and look healthy and beautiful!  We should all be like that.

Let's not let society define beautiful. I think if all of us girls can come together we can really help other, younger girls who could be going through the same exact pressure we are. Fashion magazines and the modeling industry need a reality check…they don't know what they're doing. {end story}

We agree with the writer, so-called beauty norms and standards are defined by so few people and affect so many.  The few certainly have every right to describe and define beauty as they see it (what with beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all), but so too does anyone else have the right to reject it. So here are our questions.  How do you define beauty?  Why do you think so many of us compare ourselves to the pictures we see and don't see?  Is that just human nature?

And as you can see here, we're questioning our own contribution to the perpetuation of the norm.

(post picture from tumblr)



  • Dana R.

    Posted on February 6, 2012

    I get this and agree. But is “society” defining beauty or are we? I mean, aren’t we society. If you were at a restaurant and they gave you something you didn’t like, you would return it, right? Can’t we do that with the pictures we’re shown and if we can, why aren’t we?

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  • Afraid of Spiders

    Posted on February 6, 2012

    I was 18 twelve years ago, and I still feel many of these same things. I have begun to focus on finding love and beauty within myself and within others not without and based on exteriors, facades and either those things that inevitably fade with time or which come off each night as we get into bed.

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  • Jill

    Posted on February 6, 2012

    Beauty is having a body mind that are strong enough and healthy enough to do what you want and need them to do.

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  • Can't Help Myself

    Posted on February 6, 2012

    Love that Teddy Roosevelt quote.
    Wish I could stop comparing myself.
    Wish I knew who to blame. :)

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  • Emma Halpern

    Posted on April 21, 2012

    Beauty is not just in the beholder’s eye. Beauty is in the eye of the self and what the mirror plays back — as with your picture above — may not only be a reflection what we see but what society says we should see.

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  • GG

    Posted on April 21, 2012

    I think we are inundated with images of women that are very difficult, almost impossible, to attain. I was watching American Idol the other night (no judging on this site, remember!!!) and J.Lo was wearing this wild dress that showed her abs. She is crazy-fit, and of course I was looking and thinking, “Wow! She’s had twins and she looks like that! What’s wrong with me?!!!” Then I remembered that she is in an image business so part of her “job” is to work out like mad with her trainer. I try to remember that I would like the abs, but not her lifestyle.

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    • Eva@OOC

      Posted on April 21, 2012

      We think that’s a great point, GG. We need to remind ourselves that we are all different, and that we cannot all look like the women we see in the media.

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