Many of you probably saw the post I did on Facebook about the article titled ‘The women willing to trade a year of their life for perfection’. Seriously? Women would give up years on their life for a perfect body? I was so shocked by what this study found I just couldn’t get it off my mind. The study was performed on 320 women ages 18-65, and most of them would be considered in the normal weight range (some were even underweight). This gave me a sinking feeling in my gut. That so many women would be willing to give up at least a year of their life to get the ideal body shape. Give up an entire year with their friends, their family, the people they love…just to look the way society has deemed necessary?
It reminded me of an experience I had back in 1992. I had employed a young women 20 years old as a nanny for my 3 children. One day she came to me and said that she needed to take a few days off she was having surgery. When I asked what was wrong she said they found Melanoma on her back and she needed to have it removed. She had been a sun worshiper and had gone to tanning beds for years during the winters, but now the doctors had told her that she needed to stop tanning. Simple, yes? She went through the surgery just fine and everything seemed great. A few years later I ran into her and she was tan as ever. I couldn’t help myself so I asked her about it. Her response went something like this, “I just couldn’t stand myself when I wasn’t tan so I decided that I’d rather be dead than alive and not tan”. That was the first time I had ever heard anyone put their looks ahead of life. It didn’t make sense to me then, and it doesn’t make sense now.
We have a serious problem in this nation and we have got to do something. The media has made this size 0 to be the standard and in reality that size isn’t even healthy. The fat percentage of someone that small is typically below normal, which can be just as bad for you as having a few extra pounds, (in fact, there are studies that show that skinnier people on average live shorter lives). Now don’t get me wrong. I know when I have been 30 pounds overweight, I’m not happy with myself but I’ve never put that ahead of my family relationships, my jobs or certainly not my life.
The challenge really is that we are being bombarded several hundred times a day with images and messages of what you need to look like to have the perfect body. It was mentioned in this article that they cited Kelly Brook, Beyonce, Jessica Alba, and Scarlett Johanasson as each having the perfect body. What’s ironic is that if we interviewed each of these women they could probably tell us all things that they aren’t happy with about their bodies.
I’m so bothered by this that I really want to do something about this but I don’t know what I can do. What can one person really do to make a difference with something so big? If anyone out there has any ideas I would love to hear them.