Women: “Real Women Have Curves”

30 Oct

There’s a new fad going around and it is based on this idea that only “real women have curves.” The ideal body image has been constantly changing since the beginning of time. But unfortunately this continuous shift in what is considered sexy is dangerous for women as well as our children. Up until recently the media was shoving this tall, slender, size 0 body image down our throats, telling us that was the ideal body size, also that that was what all women should strive to look like. Ideas like this have shaped and warped the fashion industry into a dangerous cult, breeding eating disorders in children and young women. This obsession with body image has negatively affected how we see ourselves and ultimately how we nurture and care for our bodies.

What’s really sad is that no one is left unaffected by this notion of an ideal body image. Recently Barney’s Department store targeted out beloved Disney characters and gave them a more runway makeover. This consists of making the characters more chic, hip, taller, much thinner, and virtually unrecognizable.

With images like these that are so closely related to our children will end up damaging the way our children view themselves on a long term basis. These new representations of the Disney characters is teaching our children that being short and round is not okay anymore, and in order for them to be accepted they must be tall and thin. And although Barney’s is not taking responsibility for this negative change of the characters and the long term affects that it will have on children, that does not mean they do not exist! Statistics show that:

• The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females.
• 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.
• 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.
• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.
• 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.

Now as a “backlash” against this super skinny runway model illusion, the media has created this super sexy curvaceous vixen persona that many women are trying to emulate now.

This can ideal can be just as hurtful as the skinny model body image! Our perception of the media is to portray the average body type. But this is untrue. The media is portraying what they can market at that time. And in doing this they create a niche for a specific type of person, then exclude everyone else. Now instead of saying oh I want to be skinny, curvy women are fat and undesirable. Women are now shunning these skinny women, doing the exact same thing they were doing to curvy women a few years ago, and saying that big is in, and if you’re too think you are no longer accepted. This never ending cycle of hate towards our bodies is extremely unhealthy and counterproductive. Women are and always have been used as a ploy to sell good and merchandise. We are the number one consumers so can you blame them? Unfortunately these issues are not going anywhere any time soon. We have reached this new “Photoshop culture” where models are now being photo shopped to be larger, more curvaceous women. It seems like no woman is capable of having this “ideal body type” anymore. In the article, Curvy is the New Skinny, Thanks to Photoshop Phonies, the emergence of the curvy women is nothing we haven’t seen before and will not stop any time soon. The article states,

Thinness is not the problem here. Hourglass figures or “curves in all the right places” are not the problem here. The problem here is that the grass is always greener on the other side, and so many industries have capitalized on convincing and re-convincing women (and men) of that lie. First, thinness is the best, healthiest and most attractive, but those industries aren’t showng us ribs, hip bones, small chests and other naturally occuring effects of thinness on bodies — especially the more unsightly effects of thinness brought on by disordered eating, like gaunt faces and decaying teeth. Then being “curvy” is the best, healthiest and most attractive, but only with an extremely thin waist, round, lifted breasts, and no cellulite, stretch marks, full arms or flat bottoms. Heaven help us if a double chin shows up.

Plenty of media is capitalizing on this idea by pinning “real,” curvy women against “skinny” women.

This constant cattiness that seems to be ingrained in women is what keeps this idea continuing. If we stop trying to be someone we are not, stop trying to look like super models, understand that those types of body types only make up 8% of the population, then we will begin to see a shift in the way we see ourselves.

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