Body Image Issues ~ Let’s Get Real

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I’m perplexed by organizations or individuals who put on the façade of empowering ALL women to love themselves and their bodies, but who are in reality only narrowly accepting that which falls into the ideas, messages, and images that work for their way of thinking or their body type. Why is it that some of the people who say they are for promoting positive body image, actually shut down the women who do not have bodies similar to their own? 

Recently, a group, who claims to empower women and girls to love their bodies, contradicted themselves by posting a picture of a women’s body and making fun of her for looking too “manly”. (I guess the model wasn’t curvy enough to be considered feminine to the poster.) How can an organization possibly say they are promoting self-esteem, confidence, and positive body image for all women and girls while mocking a woman’s body?  It’s completely bogus and harmful. There are a lot of naturally lanky teenage girls out there who also feel insecure about their thin appearance. Imagine how they would feel seeing that post.

Saying curvy is better than thin is no better than saying thin is better than curvy.

How about ALL women are uniquely beautiful!?! I like that message better myself.

Thin, curvy, pear-shaped, apple-shaped, plus-sized, straight, full-figured, skinny, muscular, petite, or whatever other adjective we may use to describe a women’s body shape—They are ALL beautiful! The reality is that it’s great to be healthy skinny or healthy full-figured. One way is not better that the other.

When organizations and individuals mock certain body types that is contributing to spreading negative body image messages. Women and girls don’t need more negative body image talk, especially not from people who say they are helping women with body image issues.

Girls and women need role models who are walking the talk and who understand and express that beauty is more than skin deep.

Being beautiful and healthy is about taking care of our bodies, exercising, feeling centered, eating healthy, laughing, having fun, learning, living, loving, and divulging in whatever your cravings are in moderation. Beauty is about how we treat people, the inner workings of our heart and minds, what we create, how we love and live our day-to-day lives, and when what we think, say, and do are all in harmony.

We can be many different places on the size or weight chart to be healthy, happy, and authentically beautiful.

That is the message I think positive body image and self-esteem “experts” should be sending and the message that will help bring women together for the greater good of empowering girls and women everywhere.

Let’s work together for the greater good, break down barriers, embrace true diversity, and practice what we preach.

There. I said it. And, I feel so much better.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roxanne
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 11:06:38

    Girls and women everywhere applaud you, Liz – thanks for this post!

    Reply

    • Liz
      Oct 10, 2011 @ 11:20:05

      Thank you, Roxanne! I really appreciate your comment!!

      I was a little apprehensive to publish this post because it may be seen as controversial. Women have deeply rooted feeling and thoughts about body types and body image, but I thought it was important to point out that we are all in this together and in order to make a positive impact in the world and empower girls and women, we need to be ALL-inclusive, positive, and committed to walking the talk.

      Thanks again! xo

      Reply

  2. Justin
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 11:30:50

    Wonderfully stated, Liz!

    Reply

  3. Liz
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 17:42:37

    Thank you, Justin!

    Reply

  4. Jodi Hopkins
    Oct 11, 2011 @ 20:17:49

    ;) Agreed.

    Reply

  5. Katie
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 21:23:11

    So true! It is so awesome to have women support each other in being healthy and happy. Love it!

    Reply

  6. Bethany
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 06:50:21

    I say this same thing all the time! Self-esteem should not come at the expense of someone else’s. Yes, some men like curvy women and don’t like a girlish body–but other guys are all over it. And regardless of what kind of body men like, can I change that? Can I grow a butt and bigger boobs? No!

    If it’s true that a full-figure is so attractive, then why push me down all the time? Wouldn’t nice people be encouraging the tall, thin, “manly”-looking girl? These kinds of campaigns are simply born out of jealousy, and until women admit that, they will never accomplish the goals they’ve supposedly set out to accomplish.

    Reply

    • jasleen
      Oct 14, 2011 @ 08:58:03

      Bethany, two things.

      First, the issue here isn’t what men like. It’s about women not insulting other women. What men think is quite irrelevant.

      Second, by suggesting the full figured women are jealous of the thin women, you’re still insulting other women.

      Reply

  7. schugarmama
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 10:07:27

    Great post, Liz. I only wish you’d included the link to the offending organization. The guilty don’t deserve your discretion. How will they learn if we don’t give feedback?

    Thank goodness “pretty” isn’t just one thing to all no matter what the beauty and fashion industry promote.

    p.s. i dig your wordpress theme. :) looks vaguely familiar!

    Reply

    • Liz
      Oct 14, 2011 @ 10:47:44

      Thank you, Schugarmama!

      I didn’t want to make this post about calling out that organization specifically, but expressing the idea that we (especially people and organizations who say they are promoting positive body image and health) should all work together for the greater good of ALL women and not use negativity or mock and bully women who are not like us–not ever.

      I wrote to the organization’s creator expressing my concerns (as did other women) and they took the negative post down. They heard our message loud and clear and that’s great! I think they will think through what they choose to publish a little better now and that’s exactly what I wanted to accomplish in writing to them. We can all make a difference by speaking up for what we believe in! I really do believe that we are all uniquely beautiful!

      P.S. I’ll check out your blog! :)

      Reply

  8. Staci Weber
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 10:15:26

    Amen Sister! Thank you for making this point. It needed to be said. Your beauty should not be dependent upon the opinion of others. Your body is your body. The end.

    Reply

  9. Justin
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 00:49:41

    I Am Beautiful Because . . . I just completed a 10-day body image challenge that was a beautiful self esteem boost. :) Check out this review:
    http://byutv.org/watch/34a3e480-0eb5-4f3d-861f-7334f9a0103f (story starts at 9:15 and goes through 12:30).

    Reply

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