Imagine a world where our bodies were all considered equally beautiful. No more dieting (and the binging that naturally follows a diet) in order to conform to this culture’s current standard. What a liberating fantasy!
Our culture, unfortunately, is still entrapped in its rigid norms. An unrealistic standard of beauty unattainable by most women is dictated by the beauty industry in particular, and by sex-oriented advertising campaigns in general. Our self-esteem as women suffers as we are told that we are not okay as we are – our noses are too big, our stomachs too round, our breasts too small – leading us to believe that if we fix these “flaws,” we will be “acceptable” and our lives will be perfect. Since all of us long for love and acceptance, we may buy advertising’s well-spend message that we are not okay as we are.
It is important for us to understand that the current standard of beauty is unhealthy for most women. Unless you were born with an ectomorphic body, you cannot have a model’s size and shape and still be healthy. Many models need to starve themselves in order to meet the industry’s current standards. Even then, an “imperfect” body part may be substituted by another’s in a spliced photograph. And these are the standards to which we as women compare ourselves!
Do we really want to change our bodies every time the fashions change, like we do our clothing styles? In the 1950’s, we would have had to get surgery or wear “falsies” to look like the hourglass figured beauties of that era, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. A decade later, we would have to starve or have surgery to look like stick-figured Twiggy! A lot more drastic than trading straight leg pants for bell-bottoms!
When we believe that only the culture’s current standard is acceptable and our bodies are not okay as they are, we may try to explain our problems by focusing on these so-called flaws of our bodies, setting us up for our first diet.
Diets, however, do not work long-term. Most dieters will tell you that they have lost weight on diets (often a lot, often many times). So this is not a problem of willpower. Yet 95% regain the weight. Why?