- By Natalie Devitsakis
As much as the title of this article sounds like the summers latest American horror movie, it is actually the psychological and emotional struggle many women combat daily: their body. During each milestone of our lives, it appears that there's a beautiful, blonde bombshell we watch and 'admire'.
6 years old- Barbie: 'perfect' body, great husband (even though they've divorced and she's now with Blaine, the Aussie surfer), a degree for every occupation under the sun, 4 houses and no stretch marks from the numerous children she's given birth to.
16 years -Jessica Simpson: great voice, gorgeous husband, flat stomach, so much money she could remove her make-up with it and her own TV show.
26 years- Portia De Rossi: body to die for, beautiful smile and a job in the television and film industry that many of us only dream of.
36 and over- Sharon Stone: rich, happily married, one of the biggest names in Hollywood and one of the biggest pin-up women worldwide.
The moment we progress from one 'beauty', the next comes along and gives us more impossible physical ideals to live up to. The media play a huge role in dictating the issues that women have with their bodies. We must realize that we live in an era when feminists have already done the labor for us - we vote, have the ability to work, get equal pay and we're no longer sold off to prospective husbands as a property. If we have so many freedoms and liberties then why are we being consumed by something that society tells us is 'perfect'?
Sure Jessica, Portia and Sharon may be beautiful people (and even Jessica's obvious degradation of her intelligence on international TV will be remembered for a while) but this piece is not to talk or abuse these ladies about their looks, occupations or their hair color (Note: my best friend is blonde). This article is rather to give a reality check to normal folk - people who have bad hair days, who can't squeeze into size 2 jeans and who don't own Versace underwear. Consider Marie Curie, Caroline Chisholm and Mother Teresa - each of them have been landmark figures in their own eras and not because of their gender. Today no one sits drooling over them on 'Official Picture' websites; no one is willing to print slanderous articles about them because they earned their positions and esteem through their brains… not their bust.The Perfect Body
The controversial question of 'what is perfect?' needs to be disregarded. Now. Forever! The question real women need to answer, is 'Who has the right to define what perfect is?' Should we trust the fate of our self-worth and emotional stability in the hands of some pompous Englishman who works at the Oxford Dictionary Press? Should we listen to some B-Grade Hollywood beauty who eats nothing but egg whites and laxatives, preaching about 'health' and her 'bodily imperfections'? The answer is NO!Tall or short?
Curvy or stick-thin? Busty or concave? Blonde or Brunette? Trying to define the media's view of perfection, a typical answer would be "tall, stick-thin, busty blonde". What I pose to you is this - think about your 5 closest friends… think about their boyfriends or husbands; if they're single or unmarried, think about the types of men they've been attracted to. Chances are, if they are anything like my friends, every one of them goes for different types- tall, short, skinny, well-built, funny, serious, quiet, loud, brunette, blonde, jock, academic and so on… Each person's view of physical perfection is very different. If you look in the mirror and see a size 14, don't see someone who is 'fat' or 'not skinny' - see someone who is the same size as most average women in the world. Don't see someone 'short'; see someone who can use heels to give them a boost and are at a height that many 6-foot tall women would die to be. Don't see someone 'busty' - see someone with assets millions of women pay thousands of dollars to acquire. I could go on all day but boring you to death isn't the aim of this article- my aim is to try and convince you that starving to death is not the wisest thing in the world; and that in this media-crazy world, we must keep perspective about ourselves.Skinny = happy! Skinny = in love! Skinny = friendly! - NO!
Starvation, regurgitation and bingeing are three of the most common practices in women today. Why do we fight so hard to be treated equally, when the moment some sleaze at a bus stop comments on our legs, or we see Lara Flynn looking like a lollipop with hair, we are ready to internally torture ourselves? Eating disorders are not restricted to women in early-mid adulthood- they occur in people from as young as 7 to 70. With the rate of eating disorders frighteningly rising, keeping a reality check on what is healthy and what isn't, is becoming harder. 1 in 20 Australian women suffer from eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating) and only 25% of university students in the healthy weight range are actually happy with their weight! Through personal and social pressures (mostly media-driven), women are finding themselves with lower self-esteems, idealizing 'thinness' and being deceived into believing that with skinniness, comes happiness. Reality check time:
Living in the ultimate 'makeover' age, women are forced to observe and idolize these 'perfect women'. What lengths do these women go through to achieve this fame, money and size 2 jeans? Complete loss of privacy, self-mutilation and degradation, and loneliness go as one with these beauties because they become untouchable. Look at J-Lo; she's wealthy, famous and thin but changes her husbands like underwear.
No one in the world- no magazine, no newspaper or any self-respecting journalist, has shown the link between being skinny and finding true love and happiness. In fact, these media channels are hell-bent on giving us the gossip: weight gain, divorces, drug and alcohol abuses, nervous breakdowns and more. The very people who are forcing us to look at and worship these beauties are also proving to us that being skinny, rich and famous does not give you happiness, find you true love or provide you with real friends. Realities for the 'real' girl and woman:
1) Real beauty comes from the person within: Decent men are now admitting that the 'hot', skinny, stuck-up girls aren't the sort they'd want to spend the rest of their lives with. A (male) friend of mine told me about being drawn to women: 'It's not the lips; it's the smile. It's not the eyes; it's the gaze. It's not the legs; it's the beliefs you stand for.' The more faith you have in yourself, the more confidence you possess and the more people will notice you for it. If you walk into a full room with your head held high and the belief that nothing can bring you down, people will see it -even if you feel 4 foot tall inside!
2) Intelligence is not a flaw: "I don't like buffalo wings…"- Jessica Simpson, 2004. "HAHAHAHAHA" - Rest of world, 15 minutes later. Real girl power rests between our ears. No one -male or female -has the right to tell us that how we speak, how many languages we know or how many degrees we have, 'intimidates' them. We've endured centuries of intimidation and suppression and women have died fighting this for our cause. We need to maintain these freedoms, opportunities and knowledge or else all the blood, sweat and tears were in vain.
3) Finding the 'Mr. Right' takes time: Every time we date a psycho, lunatic, drip, knob, tool or idiot, it is not because we are stupid or naÃ¯ve; it's because we are narrowing down the field of people that we could possibly marry or be in a serious relationship with. As I mentioned before, because each person's view of perfect is very different, then each person is going to view you differently. By being the best person you can be, then men who truly care about you will remain with you - and the superficial individuals will venture their way back to watch more swimsuit competitions.
4) Have sass!S
mile - A beam says a thousand words, and it also brightens up your whole attitude and impressionA
ctive - Exercise 3 -4 times a week in a group or at a club; if on your own gets too boring. Not only do you burn calories, but also you get fitter, stress less, are less likely to be depressed, meet lots of people and make your brain and body work in harmonyS
poil- Eat healthy (lots of fruit, veggies, grains fish and lean meat) most of the time but if that 'Cadbury Entice' is looking fine after a long week of emotional break-ups, exams and PMS, then feel free to indulge once in a while!S
elf - Think about the strength and importance of keeping your body and life real and in perspective. "Know what you want and have the courage to go out and get it.
It is your own individual responsibility to eat healthy, stay active and have faith in yourself; and remember that you take these measures to be a healthy, happy person for your sake, not anyone else's. Not for your parents, not for your friends, not for your boyfriend, not even to live up to the media's standards! Keep it healthy and bear in mind that abusing it is only going to harm you in the long run - so just keep smiling, active and remember that the occasional indulgence is just fine! You've been given one body: Cherish it!
For extra reality checks
Log on to: http://www.eatingdisorders.org.au and http://www.bodypositive.com/
Read: "Kiss My Tiara: How to rule the world as a smart-mouth goddess" by Sarah Jane Gilman More