So…I’m officially in finals week, so you may see more posting here. Because clearly that’s the best way to procrastinate. In all seriousness though, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on things because my paper is almost done!

Today I want to talk about something more serious, and possibly controversial. But since this blog generally has zero controversy, I think I’ll dive in!

There are certain fashion trends that I thought were absolutely hideous. One example. High waisted skirts. I thought they looked ridiculous and awful.

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Yes, that is me wearing high waisted skirts. Now, I love them. Like, love love.

Another example. Lace up black vans. I thought there were ugly and weird. I then proceeded to wear them for 2 years straight.



So….am I the biggest hypocrite? Why am I even bringing this up?

I’ve had this experience with several fashion trends. I really dislike them, but then everyone wears them. The more and more I get used to seeing them, the more and more I like them and WANT them.

How is this relevant? Because by bombarding ourselves and our youth with images of unattainable and photoshopped bodies, we’re conditioning ourselves to want them, when for many people, genetics dictates that this really isn’t feasible. Or in the case of photoshop, Biology dictates it!

There have been some major photoshop fails lately on clothing models, where everyone cries out that the models are photoshopped. In one of these cases, the response of the company was something like “We’re selling clothes, not bodies so it doesn’t matter.” But it does. It does matter. It matters because we are conditioning ourselves to want something that more likely than not is not humanely possible, and we’ll strive to achieve this. Many go to extremes to try and attain the unattainable. Society feeds us pictures of what we “should” look like enough that we start believing it. So while the people doing the photoshopping may claim it does not matter, especially if everyone is aware of the photoshopping, it does. This image is what has been drilled into our heads time and time again of what beauty is.

I honestly cannot imagine bringing a daughter into this world (in the very, very far future) where she is overwhelmed by “beauty” that she will never be. Beauty looks different on different people, and beauty is real, not photoshopped. Some people may be able to look like models, but I won’t be doing her any favors with my genes-I’m simply not built to ever be that thin! My body type simply will never lend itself to looking like that! Everyone has a different healthy, and no one can live their lives photoshopped.

That being said, (and here’s the controversial part) while I wholeheartedly support the “Body Love” campaigns that are popping up, people need to remember health. You can love your body while still wanting to be healthier! 2/3 of the country is overweight or obese, and these can lead to some serious health issues. While I’m all about loving your body, I think these have the potential to be dangerous in the sense that they lend themselves towards stagnancy. What I mean is that they tend to discourage healthy change because we should “love ourselves as we are.” Like I said, I think it is important to be confident and happy at whatever size you are, whether thin, thick, or somewhere in-between, I also think it is important to realistically look at your health as well. As our society gains weight, our sense of what is normal and healthy tends to shift. So that’s just something to keep in mind. I am in no way body shaming, I am just suggesting that while it is important to love yourself, part of loving yourself is your health.

Thoughts on these issues?

7 comments on “On Body Image and Society

  1. ChickGettinFit

    Love this post! Body image has been a growing issue for girls in the past few centuries and its getting way too extreme. The pressure to be skinny is outrageous and 100% unattainable. I hope that one day every girl will be able to accept their body and love it.

    1. astottler Post author

      I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Angela

    Soo true. Familiarity breeds preference. It’s like songs – the first time I hear a song I hate it .. then it would always play on the radio and I begin to like it. It’s interesting how a lot of our conception of normal is so dependent on the current trend .. It makes me wonder, who determines the trend?? Who is in charge of the wavelike changes in norms? How can we change our current perception of beauty?

  3. Brittany

    This is a really thought provoking post! I was a psych major in college and am interested in health psychology and public health, so I spend a lot of time thinking about body image and health behavior change. I completely agree with you that it is important for people to love their body, but at the same time be cognizant of their health. It seems like a lot of the focus in our society is only on weight, rather than overall health. Even though having an “overweight” BMI classification does not necessarily mean someone is unhealthy just like being in the “normal” range doesn’t automatically mean someone is in good health. Maybe if the focus was shifted off weight and onto overall health, that could hopefully prevent stigma from being attached to overweight individuals and also prevent people from trying to lose too much weight.

    1. astottler Post author

      I definitely agree! Healthy is not the same weight for everyone!

  4. Emily @smilemilegirl

    I think that’s really interesting how you made that comparison. That’s a really good way to look at it. Very thought provoking! 🙂

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