Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Body Image: Mirror, Mirror

Snow White’s Evil step-mother is well-known for her famous phrase, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” Waiting for the self-assurance that she is by far the most beautiful in the land.

Now I not sure about you, but when I was younger and first saw this movie, I thought it was so silly! She’s asking a mirror to tell her that she’s beautiful. “Hello Evil Queen, in real life mirrors only talk in Harry Potter, duh,” is totally what my cute pre-teen mind would have thought. But now that I’m so much more mature, I find myself often times doing asking the mirror something similar…though I think mine goes more like this,

“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, am I beautiful at all?”

Okay,so maybe it isn't quite that bad, but you get the point. No matter if it’s before a date, church, school, a dinner, or even just a quick glance before I walk out the door, I wonder, "Do I look okay?" I think I silently wish that the mirror could talk back, and just say, “Yes, you’re beautiful.”

That desperate for compliment from inanimate objects? Not so much.

Lacking for confidence that much? Well, yes.

This is bad. I think my questions is more insecure than the evil queen’s, and what is sadder than that I’m a bit more confident than most of my friends, when it comes to looks.

Princesses are suppose to be confident. Cinderella does not sing about how awful her reflection looks when she is scrubbing the floor. Instead she sings about how she is wishing her prince would come. (Not that I blame her…I much rather be with a hot guy than scrubbing a floor) When her fairy godmother comes to fix her up for the ball, Cinderella isn’t sobbing that she would look so ugly compared to anyone else. She’s crying about not being able to see him. Are you seeing the difference? I hope so.

Very sadly, I know I’m not the only one that has self-esteem issues when it comes to looks.

Here are some statistics.

“42% of girls and first through third grades want to be thinner.”
“75% of normal-weight women think they are overweight. 90% of women overestimate their body size.”
“70% of women between he ages of 30-70 said that they wish they were thinner.”
“7 out of 10 U.S. women are “on a diet” at any given time.”
“89% of all plastic surgery is performed on women.”

The first is from a website and the rest are from a book. The references are at the bottom of the page. If you were wondering.

But lets look at these statistics. 1st grade is the youngest I think any of them mention, which is 6 years old. The oldest mentions women that are 70 years old. That’s most of our lives we are plagued with being insecure about our bodies. Maybe by the time we are 80 we are too old to care, but until then most women struggle with feelings about their bodies.

In this Septembers Vogue magazine, they have an article about Victoria Secret models, and how they are considered too curvy for most runway fashion. (Victoria Secret by the way is awesome. They make sure all their models are a healthy weight and eating alright.) Those girls are a size 4 and tall!! Notice how they come from all over the world. I strongly believe that’s because there are only like 12 women who naturally have a body like that in the whole world. But most of the time, we are not comparing ourselves to Victoria Secret models, we are comparing ourselves to the models that are thinner and less curvy than them and told the Victoria Secret models they are too fat. How crazy is that?

But the fact is we do compare ourselves. This really hit home when I went to education week over the summer. One of the classes, we ran upon this subject of feeling good about our bodies. One women, who works in a rehab location that specializes to help women with eating disorders, raised her hand and said that society’s opinion on what a woman should look like, is women’s porn. What we hear, what we see, what we expect of ourselves, warps our minds, just like men’s opinions of women do when they become addicted to porn. Overcoming bad body image is as difficult and hard to change. Many girls go to rehab or therapists over the fact they look and feel ugly. I felt that was really strong language when I heard this, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense to me. And here is why. 

When we feel bad about ourselves…

1. We distort our idea what is healthy, beautiful, and natural
2. We can never get enough. There is always another diet, better fashion, another surgery, another something to help us look better.
3. It affects the habits of our daily lives
4. Makes us go to extremes (eating disorders, addictions to plastic surgery etc.)
5. The next magazine, diet, or fad might have the answer for what is wrong, and we pry them apart looking for the answer.
6. We are never happy with what we have.

Now I’m not saying all women have this issues, and I’m not saying everyone takes it to this degree. But I know a lot of people who have. I’ve had the friends that have gone off sugar, become a vegetarian, worked out 4 hours a day, not because they think it would make them healthier, but to help them look better.

So…what is your intention?

I hope you ask yourself that, and I hope you look in the mirror and say, “Dang, I’m hot. Look out boys” every time you walk out the front door. Because guess what? Men think girls are hot. Trust me, I’ve heard all about it, waay too many times.

Now for the men…

Men, you are our princes. Can you imagine a Disney movie that the prince came up to the princesses, and asked “Why are you (or why aren’t you) wearing makeup”? Or “Eh, I don’t really like your hair that way”? Or saying “Man, Sleeping Beauty that dress looks great on you,” when really all she wanted to hear was that you thought she looked great, even if she wasn’t wearing that dress. It would be a really awful disney movie that all girls would hate if the prince was tackless enough say that. So here is a hint, you shouldn't either.

I know you all have probably read those over the top cheesy chain letters on how to treat a women, but really compliment us when we are sick. Compliment us when we are tired and look awful. Compliment us more when we really look smoking hot. We might shrug off your compliment, but believe me most women will remember. We dress ourselves up, hoping you will notice, so please let us know you do. Romance doesn’t have to be cheesy. It came be, “Wow, you look great.” Followed by a really amazing kiss that messes up our make-up. It makes us feel good.

Anyway I hope that made you think.

Love yourself,
Princess Michele

Fit and Female by Geralyn Coopersmith

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