Just because it has been this way for centuries…
doesn’t mean it has to carry on this way!
In the Victorian era, the ideal body shape for women was so impossible that corsets were worn that some times broke ribs and always squeezed so tightly that women’s internal organs were displaced.
In the 1920s the ideal body type for women was so “boy-like” that they bound their breasts and wore long line girdles to disguise their hips.
In some parts of burma (and many other places around the world at times) beauty was considered to involve a long neck such that brass rings are worn around the neck which gradually deform the clavicle and compress the ribs to give the illusion of a longer neck.
In ancient china (right up until 1911) small feet were so desirable in women that their feet were bound to prevent them growing large. Such a process was intensely painful as id didn’t stop the feet growing, they just deformed and bones broke as they grew.
IN 2014 we are being told that we have to be strong, not skinny, but not strong with any fat, only strong in an unrealistic athletic way. But also that we have to have curves and that real women have curves which is what men like. But as well as that we have to be on every diet known to man and apparently be slimmer by morning. Strong is beautiful, so presumably not strong is not beautiful, so I can have curves…but only strong ones?
What I am trying to say is through out the history of the world there have been unrealistic damaging and unnecessary ideals set out for women’s beauty.
(As I write this, I am aware that it is not just a womens issue. Men go through similar issues too, I realise that, but that may have to be a different blog post. My not being a man makes them harder to write about…)
Isn’t it about time we stopped defining what is beautiful according to made up ideals? The very fact that there is a fashionable body type is frankly ludicrous and leads to bone breaking corsets and radical crazy butt implant surgery (albeit not at the same time).
Isn’t it time we realised and accepted that people have different body types and one is not better than another. Excessive measures to attempt to change body type is not only damaging physically but mentally.
I am not against working to improve your own body within the bounds of its type and (and this is the important bit) to achieve a healthier fitter lifestyle.
I am against attempting to change your body beyond its capacity just because the fashion industry or the movie industry or any industry tells you to!
Accepting all body types is not a slogan.
Accepting all body types is not telling a skinny person that they need to eat a cake. Really, accepting that some people are larger means also accepting that some people are naturally skinny.
Slogans such as “strong is the new skinny” and “strong is beautiful” are not really helpful. They idealise another mythical out of reach body type which really just makes you feel that your body doesn’t live up to the ideal.
If strong is beautiful, doesn’t that mean that if you don’t pick up heavy things you are ugly?
If real women have curves, are skinny women not real…because I have met some, they do exist!
While we are on the subject of “strong is the new skinny”, I need to ask…what does that really mean?
Does this mean I am the new Rachel?
Because that make no sense at all!
I use these pictures deliberately.
I am not yet at a size I consider to be the right one for me but I am strong and fit and getting stronger. I am not by any means striving to be Rachel sized or Rachel shaped.
Rachel is naturally tall and skinny and has narrow shoulders and hips. She is this way because that is how she is built. (she is also addicted to pringles and freely admits she is skinny but not as healthy as she could be)
I have broad shoulders and broad hips and that is how I am built.
I strive to be a slimmer version of me, but I am doing that to achieve a healthier life and I am doing it for me. Noone out there is making me!
(I believe this 85% of the time…the other 15% is when my irrational head turns on and makes me feel like a fat lump but shhh…noone is perfect and it is a much healthier percentage than it was!)
It is time to stop finding ways to denigrate other women.
It is time to focus on health, true health whatever size. It is time to accept that there will be people larger than you and people smaller than you and constantly comparing yourself to them is damaging.
It is time to take responsibility for yourselves rather than concentrating all your energies on finding new and inventive ways to bring a sector of the population down. If you are truly happy and healthy in your own skin then believe that it is also possible for other people to be.
If you aren’t, then no amount of shaming of others will change you. Work on yourself to acheive the physical and mental health you need to allow you to go through life without finding fault with everyone else you see.
As I pointed out at the very start, this sort of body shape fashion has been going on since long before we remember, but there is no need to perpetuate it. I don’t pretend to have the solution. a large scale societal change is probably slightly ambitions for my little blog, but it is still worth saying!
I also want to update you all on the “Thinspirtion” issue I highlighted a few weeks ago. I wrote to the magazine, and the publishers. I received no response or acknowledgement at all. I can’t say I am surprised, but I am disappointed!