Female Body Image: A #FeministFriday Discussion

This is the Sixth in our Feminist Friday series, a collaborative effort with Gene’O (@Sourcererblog) and Diana (@parttimemonster) and Natacha Guyot (@natachaguyot) We’ve had some interesting, thoughtful, lively discussions over the last month. To see a roundup of the last five weeks’ discussions, check out Gene’O’s summary here. 

This week I have the honor of hosting our topic and discussion. We will be delving into the issues surrounding female body image. The comment thread is open to any and all who want to participate. If you have thoughts or ideas, please chime in!

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Male Body Image vs Female Body Image

Louis CK is so brave. He is, really. He gets up on stage, he puts himself in front of the tv cameras. He does it even though he doesn’t have the rock hard abs of other actors. He is breaking ground… This sounds ridiculous, right? That’s because it is. To think that someone as funny and talented as Louis CK should hesitate to share his art with the world just because he doesn’t look like a Greek god, well that would be crazy. Yet this is the very attitude that has greeted talents like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling. They are breaking ground with their bodies. Never mind their brilliant minds that write, produce and act. Even for those women who have achieved status and recognition, it all eventually comes down to their body.

Insanity. 

Is it any wonder that women struggle with their body image? The standards of beauty for women in our society trumps their intellect, their knowledge, their accomplishments. Hilary Clinton was derided when she started going without makeup and contacts while serving as the most travelled Secretary of State. Lena Dunham gets shamed for galavanting around nude on her show. She played ping pong. Naked. The horror! Mindy Kaling causes a stir when she says she doesn’t want to be skinny. Both women have been scorned for showing up on t.v. with atypical Hollywood bodies. And both have been hailed as heroes for showing up on t.v. with atypical Hollywood bodies. They are unapologetic about how they look. And that has people taking notice.

I applaud Lena Dunham’s attempt to “normalize” her body type (which is, in fact, NORMAL). But how sick is it that a woman showing a “less than ideal” body on t.v. is heroic? This is where we’re at, people. Being not model thin and having the audacity to show yourself is heroic. The standards of the female form have become so ingrained in us that we have all bought into it. We now see people like Dunham and Kaling and applaud them. We are applauding them for being. For walking around on this earth as themselves. Because they aren’t tall and thin. And that, my friends, is ‘effed up.

This all trickles down. Seeing women in the media being discussed in this way is absorbed by all of us. By our kids. We have become so accustomed to women twisting themselves literally and figuratively into a pretzel to try to fit into an unattainable ideal. And when we see these successful women not contorting themselves it’s kind of shocking.

The Flip Side.

The endless stream of images. We’re inundated with them. The magazines. The t.v. shows. The singers. The actors. We see before us  parades of women who have that perfect form. They pose in bikinis mere months after giving birth. They seem to be impervious to the changing female body that grows and expands and evolves as we age. So we look at that and think what’s wrong with me?

Dieting. Binging. Starving. Weight loss pills. These are the things many women resort to. Living a normal healthy lifestyle will not give most of us the model’s body. It is estimated that only 5 percent of women in the U.S. have the type of body that is shoved in our faces every day. And even they get airbrushed because “perfect” isn’t perfect enough.

So, here are some facts to chew on…

Our bodies?

Are they in fact our bodies? Is their purpose to carry us through life, to carry children? Then why is so much importance placed on how the female body looks? If it is exposed, it must be to titillate, no?  Our society thinks it owns our bodies. It tells us how we should look. What we should or shouldn’t do with our bodies. What we can and can’t do with our bodies. Even the most utilitarian female body part- our breasts- have been co-opted. The body part whose sole purpose is to nourish a baby, has been sexualized to the point that women are shamed for feeding their baby in public. Our society, our media, is screaming at us “How dare you walk around looking anything but sexy and enticing and appealing? How dare you show a body part for any reason other than the pleasure of others?” We do own our bodies. But our culture hasn’t gotten that memo.

The Pressure.

It’s enormous. Many of us feel defeated before we even exit puberty. We have been set up for failure by the expectations placed squarely on the shoulders and psyches of every woman growing up in Western society. I have seen friends, friends with beautiful curvy bodies, feel less than because of their natural shape. Most people can’t climb Mt. Everest. Only a small percentage reach the peak. So must of us don’t try, don’t even consider it something we should do. But women are trying to climb this steep rocky beast, the monster that is the “perfect body”.” And most of us will fail. Some of us will die. And some of us will make it…  approximately 5 percent of us.

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And now, the questions…

It starts young. Girls are dieting earlier. What changes can be made to affect this growing trend?

How has social media affected female body image perceptions?

Why do you think the “ideal” body image has changed from the full figured, voluptuous woman to the “ideal” standards of thin that we see today?

Why does the media and society at large, put much more importance and emphasis on the female body vs the male body?

How much negative self image is passed down?

35 Comments

    1. Yes, we own our bodies. But we don’t own what others see. If you truly want to own it, you can’t show it to everyone; only to those you want to share it with. Once you share it, you no longer own what others see.

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  1. Reblogged this on Sourcerer and commented:
    The Feminist Friday post is up, and the questions at the end are very good ones. Especially this: “Why does the media and society at large, put much more importance and emphasis on the female body vs the male body?”

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  2. What I find so very unfair, is when the ‘stick thin model types’ (some of whom are just naturally thin) are sneered at for being ‘unnatural’ – yet you cannot be a pound over weight either, for this is also shameful. It is an impossible situation. I do believe social media has a part to play here – when I was a kid I just wasn’t bombarded with unrealistic images of women like we are today. I wasn’t even concious of my physical appearance until I was well into my teens. I think the problem is, everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame and modern media has taught us that you need to be prettier and sexier than everyone else to get that. Society tends to be cyclical – who’s to say there won’t be a backlash to the X-Factor / American Idol mentality and we look for beauty and talent in other areas? I certainly hope so.

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    1. I think body shaming happens to all shapes and sizes. Too thin, too heavy, too… something. People seem to pick women apart no matter what. Some women have a hard time gaining weight and are blasted for their body size. I think social media has helped perpetuate things like the “thigh gap”. I had never heard of that, but now it’s a thing, with pictures floating around of skinny thighs and workouts tailored to achieve a thigh gap. Which would be likely not even possible for most people. I do wonder if eventually we will embrace more voluptuous body types. But even then, there’s still expectations put on women. My mom was teased growing up for being too thin.

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      1. I saw one of those “Which do you want, cheesecake or a thigh gap?” pictures on Facebook and I seriously thought it was an ad for cheesecake because that was a no-brainer for me.

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      2. Most of what I could say on this thread has already been mentioned, but I’d like to add that my aunt was also teased for being too thin. My best friend was teased for being petite when most of her peers were tall, heavier girls. I’ve been teased for everything from my disability and the way I walk to my weight to my hair, and I think the reason I have a healthy body image is because I saw the women in my family be comfortable with their bodies even if we weren’t the typically pretty, thin, whatever girls. I agree with Hannah’s statements. The media is only part of the problem.

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  3. Perhaps one of the reasons why so much emphasis is placed on the female body versus the male body is because, well, women are considered to be the beautiful, graceful sex. Women are always the ones considered to be desirable, the ones to be chased. So when there is a beautiful woman placed beside a “sexy” car, the desire for the woman is also placed on the car, because a man may think “If I get this car, I’ll be a chick magnet.”

    The problem of objectifying women is not a new one. You see it across almost every culture. Women are considered either property or a means of having sons. The younger and more beautiful the woman, the more likely she is to be healthy and produce healthy children, so therefore men go after young and presumably healthy women. I think that is why objectifying women is so ingrained into our societies. It’s just the MEANS of objectifying women that has changed in recent days, at least in countries like Canada and the USA. Emphasis is still being placed on beauty, except this time it’s purely for sexual appeal and not having to do anything slightly with genetics. Or maybe it does.

    In older days, voluptuous women were highly sought after because they were more likely to have healthy babies. Now that society focuses on pure sex and not on having children, being thin is idealistic. Also, in older says, being very curvy meant you could afford to eat well, and now, being thin shows self control in a gluttonous society.

    I think there is a lot of factors on why women’s bodies are emphasized more than men’s, but in any case, I think it’s woven into our culture, and it has been for a long time. It’s a very sad thought, but it seems to be the case.

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    1. I absolutely think desirable women are the biggest marketing tool. And I get it. It goes back to primal instincts, reproducing healthy offspring, etc. And I think the difference is now it’s not so much “this woman is sturdy and healthy and robust and would produce strong babies”, now it (in the media) is “she’s hot, I want her”. Like you said, it’s for sexual appeal more so than genetics. It’s ironic that all of this has been placed on women, through the ages. And women are the ones who will put their bodies through this huge transformation with pregnancy. Our bodies are the ones that have to stretch to their limits to carry a child and then go back to “normal.” And while there have been different standards, there were still pressures and expectations. Thin women were considered undesirable at different times in history.

      Your comment that now the focus is more on sex than finding a mate to reproduce with is spot on. And I worry that this way of objectifying women is being currently being ingrained in our culture. I think that it is not too late to offset this or change this. But how we do that is another question altogether….

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  4. I think a lot of what little kids see is coming from their parents, not the media. Over time, as little girls become teenagers, the media is probably more important. But if you hear your own mom criticizing her body all the time, or your older sister or whoever, shit gets real. My mom never really cared much about how she looked, and actively criticized ads and things like that on TV. I learned how to do makeup from Youtube because I wanted to, but I’m really grateful that she wasn’t pushing me to do it in any way, purposefully or inadvertently. This ties in to your makeup post below this one… I like to decorate myself, but I draw the line at trying to look physically different. I don’t do “contouring” and all that. It’s purely about decoration because I think it’s fun and I like pretty colors. (It’s also about health, in terms of moisturizing, etc., but I don’t really think of that as makeup.)

    Back on point, my mom criticized ads because they were superficial. What could that model have been doing in the six hours she spends getting ready every day, you know? That comes back to Mindy Kaling, or Scarlett Johanssen’s complaints about Avengers interviews. The male actors get asked about their acting philosophies, or tricky moral questions about heroes and villains. She gets asked if she went on a special diet to fit into her catsuit. It’s completely about how they look, not who they are or what they know. Men are people, and women are decorative.

    Again, I LIKE decorating myself, but that doesn’t mean I want to BE “decorative.” It kind of happens from both ends. There’s a pressure to be decorative, and there’s a perception that if you ARE decorative, you don’t have brains. I do it too… if a girl walks into class and looks put-together and cute, I think, “Well, she clearly didn’t do her homework.” It’s not true — I look cute and I did my homework. Although there is a point at which I just ain’t got time to spend an hour on my hair because I’ve got shit to do and I get bored if something non-textual takes an hour. But I digress. My point is that men are socially expected to be capable and have some kind of personality, but nobody seems to care about what a woman thinks. More than that, there doesn’t seem to be any realization that a woman’s “in there” at all.

    It’s hard to describe the reasoning there because I don’t think some Council of Old White Guys just got together and said “Look here, we need to oppress some women, let’s do it by objectifying them and pretending they don’t have thoughts,” or “If we can convince women to spend all day on their makeup, they won’t have time to read.” But that’s the end result. It’s kind of a circle, where the media convinces women to spend all their time on how they look in an effort to look perfect because that’s how they become valuable, so they buy into the whole thing themselves, and then everyone says “Valuable women are pretty, and pretty women have nothing of value to offer except being pretty, so…”

    As for why the ideal body type has changed, I have no idea, but I’d be interested to know.

    This comment just keeps getting longer and longer and I don’t think it’s making any more sense, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

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    1. Your comment makes total sense. Your comments are always insightful. I agree that what is happening in the home is a big factor. Little girls emulate their mothers and their older siblings. And try to live up to Daddy’s expectations. I also think that now, in our media obsessed culture, that girls are exposed to these things much much earlier. I know I’m older than you, but we only had a handful of channels on our tv. And even when we got cable tv, we didn’t have 500 channels. We didn’t have multiple channels dedicated to children’s programming. At 6:00 the news came on and there was nothing else to watch. Now kids can watch tv all hours and find programming geared towards them. And with that programming comes the commercials, etc.

      One of the comments Mindy Kaling made in an interview was that while her counterparts were talking about their craft, she was answering questions about her appearance. Much like the interviews you mentions with Scarlett Johansen. Even Hilary Clinton has had to answer questions about her appearance.

      I had a friend in college who was (is) stunningly beautiful. She’s very striking. When she came to college she wore fake eyeglasses and tried to dress very drab. She wanted to be known for her mind and her personality instead of always being singled out for her looks. So the perceptions and the stigma definitely go both ways. And I think this does happen to men too. I think men are perceived based on how they look. The difference is they aren’t inundated with the pressure and the images that women are.

      I don’t think that a “council of old guys” (that made me chuckle) got together and decided these things either. But I think early on women were looked at for the taking. They were sized up based on their appearance and ability to produce healthy children (as GlitterDuster stated above). And when survival wasn’t always the issue, maybe that’s when it evolved into more superficial reasons for assessing women’s appearance. I still don’t understand how the super thin look became the desirable look. It seems like this started in the late 60’s and early 70’s (Twiggy, etc). But why?

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      1. Yeah. What’s weird to me is that a lot of ladies my age KNOW it’s advertising, they complain that “They just want us to think our hair should look like that so we’ll buy the product,” and yet they buy into the concept anyway. It’s like those studies that find no college kids think binge drinking is cool, but they all think everyone ELSE thinks its cool, so they all do it.

        Your mention of your friend also reminds me of a class, or rather a secondhand story about a sociology professor at school who talks about how girls are given a choice at some point around early middle school: They can be smart or they can be pretty. I was homeschooled, but I still felt that implicit choice. It was coming from my peers, but I think the origin was from the many parents who were present, in the sense I was talking about before. They verbally encouraged us to be smart, but I feel like a lot of them were sending a different message on a subliminal level, and once it got into the group of kids it spread. We all mixed, but life was kind of divided into “those who wear lip gloss and those who do not.” The cool girls were the ones who wore lip gloss.

        At my small liberal arts formerly-womens’ college, when my professor brought it up, the girls generally remembered the choice from middle school but no longer felt it to be true. (Of course, there may be a different issue with trying to convince women they should be all things at all times. Yes, you can be smart and hot at the same time, but you don’t have to be either or both ALL the time.)

        Definitely agree that it comes from times past in which women were property and literally weren’t considered on the same level as men. Maybe I’ll do a feminist Friday post on that sometime. It is really weird that it’s changed into the “super thin” thing though, since that really doesn’t indicate health or childbearing sturdiness.

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  5. A thought-provoking piece. I find the whole body image business deeply depressing – and, in my thirty years as a teacher, saw far too many teenage girls who suffered from Anorexia or Bulimia. I have drifted in and out of stupid diets in my time – and, being on the large side myself, have been subject to many insulting comments and derogatory remarks. There seems to be this weird belief that all fat people are jolly and, basically, thick-skinned and insensitive – and will, therefore, laugh at their own grossness. Appalling.
    But where does it come from? Yes, I can see that the media has a huge influence – but many girls have their body image fully developed well before they get anywhere near a regular television, newspaper or magazine habit.
    Our self-esteem starts IN THE HOME, and is composed of the attitudes handed down by our parents. They nurture our bodies in the physical sense, feeding us and so on – but ambivalent attitudes toward their own bodies and sexuality creep into the equation – and these can be terribly damaging. Little girls often want to please their fathers – and pressure can be brought to bear by both parents, albeit covertly.
    Pressure is put on tiny girls to become someone who will, eventually, attract the men. It always sickens, and terrifies me, when I see pictures of six year olds dressed in revealing clothes, plastered with make-up and posing in provocative ways.
    I think there is still a view, amongst some people, that women are, or should be, pretty arm candy: that their real role in life is to look decorative and make their consorts feel proud. A great deal of mixed messaging comes in from parents: on the one hand, girls are encouraged to study hard, go to university, get jobs, be independent;on the other hand, the inherent competition for male attention and approval starts before coherent speech, and the messages concerning the link between appearance and GETTING A MAN are so pervasive that many women feel pulled in two by the wildly different urges.

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    1. I am with you on the pictures of little girls dressed and posing provocatively. One of my friends showed me a Christmas Card she received with a photo of her co-worker’s daughter (who was maybe 9 or 10 years old). The girls was dressed very provocatively and was arching her back and doing the “pouty lip thing”. It was stomach turning. And this was the cover of the Christmas Card her mother sent out that year.

      I remember at a very early age trying to act cute and precocious. My mom was very progressive and very much a feminist so this wasn’t at her urging. But somehow I picked up on that if I did cute little dances and sang cute little rhymes and did it in a sassy way that all the adults would laugh and think it was adorable. Which of course made me do it even more. I have no idea where it came from because my older sister didn’t behave this way and we rarely watched tv at that young age. But I was also a tomboy who liked to get dirty and didn’t care about how I looked… go figure!

      And the idea that girls are dieting at a young age is so concerning. I didn’t even know what a diet was when I was 8 years old. A couple of years ago my son mentioned at the dinner table that he didn’t want to eat too much because he didn’t want to gain weight. My husband and I were shocked. We typically don’t focus or talk about things like that. But we had been working out regularly. I was trying to get back to my regular size because I’d had my daughter and my husband has to exercise for his cholesterol. We had a big talk with our kids that night. We explained that adults are done growing and we are just focused on being healthy and that they are still growing and this is not the kind of thing they should be worried about. It is shocking because it truly isn’t something focused on in our home. Exercising is even a casual thing in our home. I never comment about my weight in front of my kids. I don’t really talk about it to anyone. I think that even though it wasn’t a focus in our home, the diet industry is so prevalent. There is so much out there about obesity rates. There are all these messages coming in. And you never know how kids are going to interpret these things. And my son, who probably needs to eat a little more at the rate he’s growing, took all that to mean he shouldn’t eat too much!

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  6. Excellent post!
    The women I’ve found most attractive (outside of movies) are those that are confident in who they are, regardless of body type.

    (This comment is mostly just a placeholder so I can follow the comments in my email. Great topic, again!)

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    1. Thank you Guap! I think confidence is THE most attractive characteristic. Along with humor and intelligence. And I think most people and most men agree with you. Unfortunately, confidence can be hard to come by when you don’t fit the “mold.” When I meet people who are truly confident and comfortable in their own skin, I am awestruck…

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  7. Very thought provoking post! Thank you so much for running this discussion today. I have been self conscious about my weight since even before my teens for what I remember, and not just because of the media. I also find it interesting (and somewhat disheartening) that while there is this same female body issues in other countries, I never felt them as badly when I went to the US, the UK or Germany, in comparison to my own country, France. In France, even after dropping 20 kg, I still am consider a plus size and a big (or fat) one in France, while all my American friends are like “oh you’re so slim now!” I mean, I know I’m curvy and I I’ll never be a stick figure (and am very good with this) but even now that I’m healthy, I still am in the fat category in France. Some say that French elegance is wonderful, but in the end, it adds to how damaging the media and societal body image can be. Most of my teenage years I had to dress by ordering on some catalogs, because in the shops, there barely were my size (it got better now but it’s still not really that good, when I compare with shopping in the UK where I lived for one year). I’m focusing on being healthy and have my own (eclectic) fashion style now, instead of trying to let media dictate me how I should look, but I’d be lying if I still didn’t feel the sting of the impossible body image media and society try to impose on us. One brand I always thought did a good job to promote diversity in beauty (i.e. having curvy women and also naturally thin ones) was Dove. I don’t really care for advertising nor even use this brand, but I like their ads.

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    1. Wow. I hadn’t thought about France being worse in this aspect than the UK or the US… but now that you say that, I know there have been tv shows and books written about trying to “eat like the French.” I think maybe the blessing of getting older is letting go of some of these “ideals.” But I don’t know if the “sting” as you say will ever go away. And the fact is that even women who look very close to these “ideal” body types often wish they had a different body.

      And if people are equating French elegance with being thin, that is disturbing! And I really don’t want some designer deciding what I should wear. I don’t want the media dictating how I dress, of suggesting it’s wrong to not dress a certain way. I’m glad you found your own style, it’s incredibly boring when everyone dresses the same way!

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  8. Wow. Great job with this subject! Although it’s an incredibly important subject for me, I don’t write about it much because it’s sort of a trigger. This type of dialogue makes me feel good and bad, so I have to take it in small doses. Yesterday I saw an amazing video about women’s perception of their own beauty and it really got me. Today I see this.
    baby steps……

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    1. I completely understand. It is a difficult subject for so many. Which is another reason why things need to change… And I understand reading something that touches something in you. It’s happened to me a few times lately and it was rough. Reading your poem today felt like “Aha” after some emotionally wrenching turmoil. It expressed something I think I needed to hear that was to muddied in my own mind to make any sense. Thank you for that.

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  9. This is an incredibly difficult subject for me, especially because I have friends who suffer with anorexia and bullimia. I had never felt so helpless than when one of them finally admitted to it: what does one say? what does one do? Knowing that something is wrong and being unable to broach the subject lest they are offended and then avoid you – that was an uncomfortable position to be in, because you can’t help but want to be there for them, but that is impossible unless they confide in you first. When it finally happened, I felt unprepared. So I listened. I didn’t try to give any advice, rather I asked questions and tried to understand.
    I had one scary experience with body image issues while researching a character. I tried to get into their shoes, see what it would feel like to be weighing yourself on a daily basis, count calories, have weight goals, keep track of fluctuations in size etc. It was all new to me and I thought it would be worthwhile, never for one moment stopping to consider the impact it may have on my own state of mind. I did this “method-writing” for about a month and was frightened by how addictive it can be. It took me a while to get back to a healthy mindset, even though I was making my decisions consciously and thought I was being careful not to overdo it.
    One of the things I learn as a result was how closely linked our psyche and bodies truly are: for a while afterwards I could’t stomach large meals and at times felt sick (and that coming from someone who loves food.) I came to realise that the way we think of our bodies and the amount of time dedicated to “body image” can have a direct impact on our actual health. It certainly helped me better understand the struggles that women and men with eating disorders go through, although I would not repeat that particular exercise in a hurry.
    I agree that women get judged for their appearance and bodies far more than men, although I have noticed that there is more emphasis on men’s bodies and looks of late as well, especially for those under media scrutiny. When it comes to actors in particular, I was startled to discover the kind of pressures they are under to change their body shape. It seems that objectification may end up acting as an equaliser in this respect. One sad state of affairs.

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    1. It is such a helpless feeling when someone you love is behaving in a way that is harmful to themselves. Your “method” writing, I can see that it could become addictive even if you’ve never had issues with something like that. It’s scary how easily our minds can latch onto things even when we’re completely aware as you were. The mind is too powerful sometimes and it’s a scary thing when you realize that your body is doing or reacting to something that you’re not completely in control of. (My experience with such things relates more to severe anxiety attacks- not the same thing as an eating disorder at all, but when I found out there was nothing physically wrong, that my mind was causing physical reactions, it was so scary). And the heartbreaking thing with eating disorders is it’s something you have to confront all the time. It’s not like you can just avoid the issue or stay away from it. I’m by no means an expert, but I have had a few friends go through some of this.

      I do think there is more pressure on some men. I think gay men experience some of this pressure much in the same way women do. Men of my generation (30’s-40’s), at least from my experience, don’t wrestle with this issue too much. While some of them want to be fit, they don’t seem to fret over wearing a bathing suit, they don’t stress over it in quite the same way the women I know do. I think another factor is that women’s clothes are often more form fitting or figure-showing. I can’t speak to the younger generation, maybe it is more of an issue with young men these days…

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  10. Awesome post Anorexia almost killed me. It took.me a while to.realize we come in all shapes & sizes. The health fitness industry needs to start using more diverse body types to perpetuate their message. When every “fitness model” looks near perfect, no wonder we gave gaping holes between people starving themselves or eating their emotions. We have t fix whats broken one blog/example at a x by embracing moderation bAlance & healthy body images as u wrote above 🙂

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    1. Wow, thank you for sharing that Laurie. How scary for you.

      I think your point about the health industry is excellent and something that hasn’t been discussed on here yet. I have friends who are very fit, in great shape and healthy, but because their body doesn’t look like that one particular body type we all see, they feel horrible about themselves. I know some who take diet pills and they don’t even need to loose weight. There are so many shapes and sizes that are healthy and you’re so right, the fitness models generally look like small ,petite, albeit very toned women. Yet another body type that is extremely rare.

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      1. That’s a great point about the fitness models. Those ads aren’t just saying something is attractive, they’re actively saying “This is what health looks like,” when it’s not true.

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  11. This is has turned into a great discussion. There’s so much packed into this thread, I’m not sure where to begin, but I have read every word.

    Thanks for hosting today, and for this fantastic post.

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    1. Thank you! I have enjoyed hosting, there’s a lot of great smart people on here. I feel like I learned some stuff and these comments have given me more to think about, which I always love! Again, thank you for being our tenacious leader with all of this!

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      1. Yes, lots of smart people, and thanks! I don’t feel like a leader most of the time. Leading bloggers is like herding cats, lol.

        And give yourself some credit, too. You joining in, and keeping the conversation going consistently is what turned this into a thing.

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        1. This cat showed up late. Great post!

          I like the inclusion of Louis C.K. as an example, also… we caught some of his standup again the other night, and he does do a whole bit about how vaguely dumpy guys, who tend to look that way their whole life, reach a point where they suddenly are looking better than the guys who looked great at a young age and faded fast.

          To compare that to female body image, is there a point where women of the non-model look suddenly are catching up? Maybe not – you have plenty of women dieting all throughout life. It isn’t fair. But not sure I know what to do about it.

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        2. Hey, better late than never. There was so much I wanted to say on this thread, but I had one of those days where every time I sat down to comment, something happened and I had to leave the computer. By the time I got around, all my bright ideas had been covered. This was a nice discussion.

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  12. Great post Gretchen, we have to refuse to go along with the show. We have to refuse to buy the magazines, watch the films and all of that, and yet we do not, or are some people starting to realize that the life of “having it all” or being the perfect female cannot be attained. I concede your point from a previous discussion, I think it is harder for young people now with all of the illusions and pressure placed upon them by social media. It is a battle no one will win. Thank you for your writing again, well done.

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