Big or Small, Human We Are

A guest blog artcle by Kristen Kuzanek (world citizen, student)

As someone who has struggled with their weight for the better part of my life, it is appalling the way society views those who do not have the ideal body image, whatever that is.  I am not alone in this struggle; I know many other people feel the same way.

There are five ways in which women can be viewed: too thin or sick looking (possibly suffering from an eating disorder), the ideal body image, average, a few extra pounds, and obese.  Clearly if you do not have the ideal body image there is an issue since there are four categories other than ideal.

Society has this mindset that girls should be a size zero, no thanks to the media. Starting at a young age, characters on television shows (cartoons included) are thin and beautiful women.  Rarely, if ever, do we see heavier characters on shows, commercials, magazines, etc. Society has set the norm for women to be thin; if you are not thin you are a deviant in society. It is almost like saying if you have a few extra pounds on you then you do not meet the norms of society. This has been portrayed in almost every aspect of media out there today. We see all the time on magazine covers celebrities being criticized for gaining or losing weight even in the smallest increments.  For example, a “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancer was recently criticized because it looked as though she gained five pounds. People were saying she should not be wearing provocative outfits with the weight she gained.

GIVE ME A BREAK!

There is no doubt that there are individuals in society who are overweight and obese; we see all the time the United States being criticized due to the weight epidemic here.  What people fail to realize is that some people are not overweight or obese due to their own actions. This is not to say that there are some who do put themselves in this unfortunate circumstance on their own, but that is not the point. Some individuals who have medical conditions that send their weight soaring.

It cannot always be controlled.

Because of the way women are supposed to look, we rarely see bigger characters on television or in magazines; And often when we do they are being harassed for their weight. For example, there is a television show called “Mike and Molly” where both main characters are overweight.  When the show first came out it drew much attention, not because of the show itself, but the characters on the show.  People would make comments like “who wants to see two fat people being romantic on TV,” “it is disgusting that these two fat people are allowed to have their own show,” etc.  Some people are just ignorant and then there is the mindset that society has placed.

It is impossible to say that we are accepting of one another – clearly we are not. Society is ignorant to the fact that everyone has physical differences.  Just because someone does not have the “ideal” body image, it does not mean that they should be treated any different.

They are just as human as the next person.

Society has this unfortunate habit of creating these ‘norms’ for society that tend to hurt more than help.  As W.I. Thomas wrote “if people define a situation as real then it is real, in its consequences” (Ward 2011).  Society has created the situation that women should be thin with the ideal body image as the only reality, but what they have failed to realize is that there are many consequences that come with it. Some girls strive to be that ideal weight by any means possible – typically eating disorders come into play. Then there are those girls who are tormented their entire life.  They feel as though they do not belong and may take their own life.

The issue of weight is no doubt a problem in America, but yearning to be a size zero is … a bit drastic!  If a woman is fine with her body image, then who are we as a society to tell them otherwise?  Each and every person has a different way of living their life and that is how it should be.

Society should not be the one setting rules to living life.

I have come to realize that my body structure will never get me down to a size zero.  I would not even want to get that thin because that is not who I am.  I am fortunate in the fact that I have not been tormented due to my weight.  I have awesome friends and family who accept me the way I am for who I am, not what I look like or should look like.  I wish that society would take on the same mentality and let women live peacefully the way they want to.  The United States is after all a very diverse and unique nation, with many different people and physical differences.

All of the above is a part of what makes us who we are.  That is how we should define ourselves – as unique members of a diverse nation!

Bibliography

Ward, Elijah. 2011.  W.I. Thomas Theorem quote given during a lecture on Race. August 23, 2011

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137 thoughts on “Big or Small, Human We Are

  1. We are such a society of extremes. It’s not enough to be healthy – we have to be skinny (which doesn’t ensure good health). I have never understood how people feel justified telling others how they are supposed to look. I guess it’s a good thing my brown eyes complement my hair or I might be ostracized! Often discriminatory communication is accepted under the auspices of concern for health, i.e. if you are 40lbs overweight you are at a higher risk for heart disease and some where along the way you are going to need medical services which will be applied to your insurance policy and then down the line all of our insurance rates will go up. Yea. Let’s be clear about this, we have two separate issues here: health concerns and discrimination.

    1. It’s very unfortunate that we live in a society where what you look like is all that matters. We live in a society where high profile models that people idolize are stick figures that represent beauty and fashion. Young teens idolize these models. Many of these models are enforced to stay a particular weight in order to be part of the brand. What teens fail to realize is that many of those stick figure models are photo shopped to almost unreal degree. Therefore, we face teens that only push themselves to being skinny instead of healthy. There’s a fine line between being skinny and healthy. I feel like even if you’re on a more voluptuous side as long as you’re healthy that’s all that should matter. Being curvy is beautiful and people don’t see that as being acceptable in society, you’re rather referred to a whale. I’m a Latina and it’s in our nature to be curvy so I’m accepting in that I will never be a size one and that’s fine I love my curves and I just wouldn’t be myself without them. We need to stop following this norm of what is beautiful and just indulge in everybody of all shapes and sizes. You’d be shocked at how much you will really learn from people, instead of just being a bystander and judging them for being a particular rate.

      1. I totally agree with you Mayra, that we live in a generation that skinny is the only kind of beauty in the world. Last week there was the Victoria Secret fashion show, and all you could see on twitter was girls saying they wished they could look like does models with the small waist and a thigh gap. When in reality every girl is beautiful in their own way. So one should love themselves and not judge or discriminate others by how they look.

  2. This article is very interesting. I believe that people who are overweight that get tormented should take a stand and be proud of what they are. In my opinion, a person should be accepted whether they gain 50 pounds, lose 50 pounds, or have an eating disorder. As a girl who struggled with an eating disorder, I can honestly say I was criticized for being too thin. In my mind I looked incredible and always pondered the idea of how amazing it would be to lose even more weight. I believe people are criticized in the media for being over weight because audiences do not enjoy knowing about the life of a heavy set person and makes me wonder if it really just makes them feel insecure about themselves. In my case, after my eating disorder I gained a substantial amount of weight. I personally would like to fit within the body type that is considered acceptable by society, but not go as drastic as I was before. People need to have more pride in themselves and their body and stop the media crazed people who tell them otherwise.

    1. Absolutely. It is unfortunate how much of an influence the media has on America. On TV, the media is convinced that it only needs to show beautiful, thin people because they believe that’s what America wants to see. I wish we lived in a world that could have anybody be a possible character on a show. This would add much more dimension and be a tad more realistic. However, it is ultimately up to the individual with the “problem” to handle it appropriately and stand up for themselves.

      1. The influence media has on America is almost unbearable. They create the “ideal” body image during the creation of advertisements and think people want to see the super thin or remarkably attractive people all the time. This makes people think they should look like the models and this is the normal way of looking. I would suggest for the government to have a more strict hold on media, but i wouldn’t want our nation turning communist.

    2. “Madelyn Ped”, I agree with you. I have not been in your place nor have I been in the place as a bigger person, but I always ask myself if I eat too much because I eat a lot. Like I find myself eating three meals a day but big snack portions, so I always feel like crap that I’m eating too much, but I always wake up the same weight, same size and I wonder that why it is. But in a way I think good of it because I like my size and weight. It doesn’t matter what people think of you and you shouldn’t want to fit in to the ideal society, you should be you. My sister is really skinny, healthy wise, but she is always asking me if she looks fat. It gets really annoying because she has the ideal body of models, yet she always thinks she is fat. All I can say is be who you want to be and don’t worry if your too skinny or too fat.

    3. Madelyn you shouldn’t listen to others for wanting to fit in to society. You should feel comfortable as you are. People can say you are too skinny but who cares what they think as long as your happy with yourself. You do not need judgement from others that do not feel happy with their own body. Yeah overweight is an eating disorder but there could be a reason which the feel like they do not fit in to society. So do not feel like you should feel the need to change your body to just “fit in”.

  3. I can relate as well. If you looked at me I guess I dont look that bad, but my belly has always been a struggle, and oh dont worry people point it out. No matter how much I work out it just doesnt leave. I will never get down to the size society says I should be and honestly, I don’t care. I think most of the models look disgustingly skinny and I feel the 4 or more inch heels are going to shatter there britle bodies.
    Back to the article/blog..women and men are viewed different that’s what it comes down to. If a skinny girl was to go out with a chunkier guy its not a big deal, he just drinks to much beer or any other stereotype out there. Yet if a 6 pack guy dates a plump girl it’s talked about. I’ve dated chunkier guys and I would never tell them they were gaining weight or anything of that manner, unless for health reasons. Yet the minute you put on a few there the first to jump out and tell you, because god for big we dont look like Kim Kardashian. I know I dont have the perfect body, I have big love handles, chunky thighs and could lose a little around the midde, but that’s how I was made. I dont know what Im suppose to do. I have a fiance and friends that love me and not my faults so why should society dictate how were suppose to look.

    1. Precisely. It seems as though society is getting nosier and nosier. Those who are better and more normally acceptable seem to knit-pick on the ones who are a little fatter or have a big nose. The truth of the matter is that it is nobody’s business. Only by pointing these types of things out is how society then decides whether or not something is okay and socially acceptable. If they went unnoticed, the wouldn’t become social issues.

  4. It is a shame that society puts so much pressure on having the ideal weight. It is one thing to inform people about the health risks that can come along with being obese, but it is another thing to pick at and criticize a few extra pounds. Also another thing is that many people are overweight because they have serious health problems such as hypothyroidism. This illness specifically affects mainly women and causes unintentional weight gain caused by under production of hormones in the thyroid that regulate metabolism. Many times people find it easier to make fun of problems instead of truly trying to understand what is happening.

    1. It is unfortunate how normal it is to recognize fat people. Merely by scanning a room, everybody’s guilty of passing judgement on every person they see. Immediately after seeing them, we have already confirmed something we notice about that person. We tend to analyze, and sometimes even criticize, their appearance or body language. I suppose this just develops naturally coming from a generation that focuses on the aesthetic more and more. In a perfect world, these people would be judged on character alone, but society says different.

    2. I agree, there shouldn’t be an ideal weight in society. I think everyone should be accepted no matter what size they are. I think people should be talked to about getting healthier and want to lose weight for health reasons as well, not just to look better in society’s eyes. I think too many assumptions are made based on somebody’s weight. When they are very slim people assume they are anorexic. When people are big they assume they are compulsive eaters. I think we need to end these thoughts and just accept everyone no matter what shape or size they come in.

  5. I completely agree with this, I think it is ridiculous how far the media goes to push women to the most extremes on being “perfect”, It for one, isn’t even possible for all women to be a size zero and if they aren’t the media as well as society makes them feel unwanted and not good enough. Alot of girls with eating disorders are because of the media. Most women have almost no self esteem because of this and try to basically starve themselves to death. Being one of those girls who is insecure about their weight, I understand where they are coming from. I am technically in the healthy weight range yet because of all these really skinny girls I see in the media and around town, getting all these guys and such, I think I have to be like them for people to like me. It isn’t the same at all with how guys look. Yeah, they have some certain expectations that the media sets but I don’t think they are as harsh as women have it. People see bigger guys with skinny girls and it’s no big deal but when a skinny guy with a bigger girl it’s like “wow, he must be desperate or something”. I don’t know but I hope one day, me and all the other girls can overcome their insecurities.

    1. The media is somewhat to blame when it comes to matters like eating disorders. I would love to blame them fully, but that wouldn’t be right. Truthfully, we need to be more individualistic and not allow the media to have such a great effect on us. We need to live our own lives and let the media adapt to us instead of vice versa. Also, this is where parenting needs to play a bigger role in a child’s life. As their mentor, they should teach them the proper ways of going about life and covering any topics that the child is struggling with.

    2. I agree that society judges the girls more than a guy. Society does put higher “standards” of how a girl should look. When guys don’t have any standards. Society expects that girls should be size zero and it is the only kind of beauty in the world. Like you said makes girls have no self-esteem and even lose the little self-esteem they have left.

  6. Yes, this all too true and very unfortunate. America is becoming a little too addicted to the aesthetic. I find that as time goes on, America seems to be have less and less values. People should be learning that it is on the inside that counts and that the diversity of the individual should be celebrated. We used to pride ourselves on being diverse, but this contrasts this. This way of thinking is very one dimensional because it requires people to all look the same. Basic biology will tell you that this is impossible. The author was right in saying that we do indeed all have different body types some of which are not capable of reaching a size zero or any other standard the media sets. This is why I also like to believe that the media dominates such a small population of America. I am glad to say that there are plenty good-hearted people out there who have refused to throw away their values of respect for one’s fellow man or woman. Many people realize the fakeness behind Hollywood and that its ideals are meaningless in the real world. There are way too many other problems in the real world to concern one’s self with being a little too fat. All one can do is be as comfortable with his/her self as possible and not allow for antagonizing to bring him/her down.

    1. I agree that what is on the inside is what counts. That said, sometimes what is on the outside reflects what is on the inside. For example, a person who is 100+ pounds overweight shows that they possess a lack of self-esteem and a level of self-hatred in the same proportion as someone who is starving themselves in order to look like an airbrushed and photo-shopped model on the cover of a fashion magazine. No one is naturally morbidly obese, although some people are naturally very skinny with rib bones and hip bones that show. Of course, we should not vilify the obese or the anorexic. We should instead value an aesthetic that is healthy, with images of men and women of different body types, none of which could be medically considered too heavy or too thin. A person with a healthy exterior loves themselves, and that is the kind of person best able to love other people.

      1. It isn’t that simple. Sometimes there really is a medical issue that must be addressed before a person’s body can become healthy. For instance, I had a serious medical issue, of which I was unaware for a long time. Once it was diagnosed and treatment begun, the weight came off. I learned that one of the side effects of the medical issue I had was weight gain. No matter what I did, the weight would not come off until I addressed the health issue. Being 100+ pounds overweight does not mean a person lacks self-esteem… I surely didn’t. It doesn’t mean that a person cannot do many of the same things others can, even though it may be more difficult. It doesn’t mean a person is less qualified or have self-hatred. A person cannot know what is going on in another person’s life. As sociologists we must try to understand how people interconnect in the world, with respect and understanding. We must look at a person and measure not their value, but how their value is judged by others. And we must do so with an attempt to recognizing all possible paths that could have led a person to the condition of life they currently face. This is not an easy task and many cannot even come close. C. Wright Mills tells us to see the big picture and that is what we must do. As sociologist we must look at the big picture, see how everyone fits it, and determine what is healthy for each individual, not for the collective. All the while remembering that the path to a current social location may not be what you think it is, no matter what someone else’s rendition of history happens to be.

      2. Of course some people have medical conditions which result in large amounts of weight gain beyond their control, but we would be foolish to think that most people who are obese have medical conditions. A substantial percentage of Americans (37.5% according to the CDC) are now obese. If each of them had a medical condition, then this number should be constant throughout history. Yet obesity rates have risen dramatically in the last several decades, suggesting that lifestyle choices are to blame. Using Mills, we live in a society structured so that fast food is far easier to obtain than cooking a healthy meal at home, and we live at a point in history when technology has developed to a point where not even the most remote residents of rural regions are terribly far away from a fast food joint. It is no wonder that the two types of men and women in our society are the obese and non-obese. However, these soaring rates of obesity are clearly a man-made problem, not the product of nature’s unchangeable way.

      3. I absolutely agree that the lifestyle changes in society as a whole have a great impact. I was just trying to point out that we cannot just lump everyone into the same definition without being conscious of other factors as well.

      4. You speak about lumping people together as though it is a bad thing. Undoubtedly, a person with a medical condition that causes obesity would feel bad about being accused of laziness. However, consider the alternative, in which we decline to encourage those who truly do need to exercise more to do so, simply because we do not want to offend that small minority of people whose obesity is medical and beyond their control. I think that the general health of our society as a whole should be a higher priority than preventing hurt feelings among a negligible sub-group, whose cause is frequently co-opted by those who have no medical condition whatsoever in order to justify their obesity because they have given up on fitness. Life is all about hurt feelings, and a person who cannot adjust to being judged ought to reform their self rather than asking society to go out of its way to be more sensitive for them. If lumping people with medical conditions in with people who lack self-control is the cost of our children living longer than their parents, then so be it. Would you rather be called lazy, or bury your child?

  7. I completely agree, I too have felt the weight struggle society inflicts on women. I actually had a medical problem, PCOS. It is known to cause weight gains and struggles losing weight. When I was in grade school I constantly had fat jokes made about me, but I never felt overweight at that time; it wasn’t until high school – when paying attention to trends is the most important thing. I have struggled with weight issues, eating issues, and am finally at a stage where I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be fit no matter what the scale says. Women need to feel confidence no matter what they may look like. We are all human, we all have feelings. If roles were switched for a while, I bet skinny people couldn’t bare to stand in the spot of the heavier. People need to love each other for being human, not how over or under weight they may be.

    1. I like your post a lot I believe it goes with the message I was trying to give out in my post. At the end of the day its about if you are comfortable with the way you look and who you are. We as humans just need to see that their are going to be different types of people all across the globe. Finally that is an interesting medical issue I have never heard of it before.

      1. I agree with your statement of the need to see that people are going to be different. But, a majority still cannot accept each other even just based on skin color, so the acceptance of weight is also viewed poorly among people. I did hear though that the top magazine in fashion, Vogue, is changing it’s view to be healthy looking models instead of the super skinny ones. I think that’s a step in the right direction to to making people more comfortable as you said. Issues in society among different people seem to come from visual aspects of one another – if everyone was blind I feel like the world may be a way more accepting and happier place for all people.

      2. Thats great to hear that some of the higher up fashion magazines are starting to realize that they to not need those super small woman. That is true much of todays arguments are come in the form what a person sees. I think as time goes on things will become better. They problem in high school used to be just the football players and cheerleaders were popular. In my opinion that has changed and most people find an area to fit in. So I see this whole overweight issue taking that coarse some time soon.

      3. I agree completely. But if you think of it from another aspect, American’s in a way already accept the obesity issue. We KNOW we are the personally largest country, we call ourselves that, yet do nothing to fix it. It is said in the media to be a problem, yet we accept the title of the “largest fast food country.” It’s pretty gross if you think about it. It’s great that famous people, and models are gaining a couple to five pounds here and there. It shows they are human, not perfect. But there is always that curse – no matter how much weight one loses in a healthy way, once they look healthy, more goals want to be accomplished, which i feel is where the eating disorders and trying to get super tiny plays a large roll.

      4. I do think it is great that the fashion industry is trying to take steps in the right direction towards accepting people who would be considered to be heavier than most models. But are they really helping out or are they hurting this idea even more. If you have ever looked the plus sized models, like the ones they have on “America’s Next Top Model” they are not that heavy. Obviously in comparison to the other models they are competing with they look to be plus sized but when I compare them to people in everyday life, they seem to be of a healthy weight and slightly curvy. So is it okay that the fashion industry says that someone of an average weight and healthy body type is plus sized? There are plenty of people that size who would consider themselves to be normal, average, or healthy but what happens when they find out that the fashion industry still considers them to be too big. In my opinion this is hurting society’s body image.

  8. I would agree that society and media have painted a picture that woman need to be crazy thin inside of magazines and other sources. No one deserves to be made fun of either. And its true that we talk about how over weight America is, but the problem is in the fact that no one has done anything, but complain about it. Woman need to start having their own opinion of themselves, if you are considered overweight and you like you size then be proud of yourself. At the end of the day not everyone is going to like you so be you and find out who really does like you for you. If your overweight and do not like it then hey there are plenty of gyms in the area to help you reach you goals. No need to go on crazy diets just some exercise and self confidence can go a long way!

    1. That’s very true and I never really thought about how we in a sense have accepted it, just like you had said. Yes, I agree it is beyond gross that some have accepted and are not willing to do something about it. Also, to go with the point you made about people not doing it sadly I have evidence of that just at my local gym. 98% of the members who go there already are skinny and are just maintaining, I feel that some of the larger people who could use the exercise need to help lower that percentage and be proactive to help better the image of our country. My dad, for example, is overweight and his side of the family has heart issues so I feel he should want to be proactive so he can get more years out of his life. We should all be able to eat whatever we want to eat, but at the same time we should not be taking so many trips to fast food places as a country.

    2. Yes, I totally agree with you! Women should have self confidence and should not be objectified. Like you said, if a women likes their image then let people judge because at the end of the day you live with yourself and not with others.

  9. I can understand where you may be coming from saying that. i dont think that the media set a norm of how women should look in society, but rather the general ideal beautiful women. and who is anyone to say that an individual’s definition of beauty can’t be a size zero. with that said it is also the same thing about why a person can’t find a overweight person attractive. being attracted to someone all differs depending on the individual.it is true that in the media there isnt alot of overweight actresses, but there are still some in the industry. and honestly women shouldn’t be so insecure about whether or not a person of the opposite sex wouldn’t find you beautiful regardless of weight. If a man doesn’t find you attractive it isn’t because he was brainwashed by the media, but rather that he himself has a different preference. throughout my life i came across plenty of men who were attracted to overweight women and what i say to that is “To each his own.”

    1. I agree completely with the idea of the perfect body image is all a matter of preference. I do think that this idea is detrimental to society. I am not saying that an overweight person should not be happy with themselves but I do believe that it is important to be healthy. If a person has the idea in their head that any body image is beautiful and they should not be judged then there is no motivation to become healthy. And again, everybody should be able to live the life they choose and nobody should be judged for their decisions or their body especially if they can not control these factors, but it is important to not just live a dangerous lifestyle because you are taking a stance against being a size 0.

      1. I mean If you blame the media for the way society views as the ideal woman then we mind as well blame the whole world as well. the media only shows to some extent the images information that we want to see. It may be a negative truth, but people generally feel more comfortable speaking or even looking at a attractive person. Yes this is very bias, but how a person help what he or she feels. I don’t know much about the world, but from my experiences feelings as well as emotions don’t lie and when invoked there was a reason behind it. i totally agree with everything your saying.

      2. You two are on the right track here, I believe. Women who have struggled being overweight and/or obese ought to realize that when a man is attracted to thinner women, this is no insult against them, and if the media caters to this preference because more men have it, then heavy women ought to overthrow the capitalist system in favor of a communist/totalitarian one which mandates the exclusion of thin women from beauty magazines. Obviously, that is an exaggeration, but perhaps you understand my point. Furthermore, if heavy women want to see more images similar to themselves in beauty magazines, then they should simultaneously campaign for images of overweight men on the covers of Men’s Health and GQ. Women are not the only gender subjected to an onslaught of images presenting them with unrealistic expectations as to what type of body they should have. A heavy woman attracted strictly to thin or muscular men is no different from a heavy man attracted to thin or curvaceous (yet not overweight) women. If heavy women want to be considered beautiful, then they have to celebrate heavy men in return.

  10. I can understand where you may be coming from. Although it is true that in the media they generally show more of the slender thin women as beautiful, but I believe that they set the norm for all women in society. Rather they show the general ideal beautiful to the general majority of society. I do believe that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What I mean when I say that is every individual have their own set of requirements in order to find another attractive. Who is anyone to judge how an individual finds another attractive. Like if a person is shallow and only looks for the outer beauty granted that’s not the best way of defining beauty, but who has the right to say that that’s wrong? I mean that’s just a person personal preference everyone has those. Overall I would just like to say that women should not feel insecure about their weight when it comes to beauty simply because why should you try to fit into this idealized beautiful woman when not every individual may find that beautiful. “To each his own.”

  11. This is an extremely difficult topic to discuss. Obviously our society has placed too much emphasis on being thin but the reactions from the people with opinions on this topic will never agree on the solution to this problem. This is because the ideal body image is an opinion or preference. Some people want to be extremely skinny and some people want to be curvy. Some people want their partners to look a certain way as well. These terms like skinny, thick, curvy, thin, fat, and so on are all opinions as well. What I may consider to be skinny may be too curvy in someone else’s eyes. What we need to strive for in society is to be healthy. Being healthy has nothing to do with weight but everything to do with lifestyle. If someone exercises, eats right, and does not have any health concerns then why does it matter how much they weigh or how they look?

  12. I totally agree with this. I feel the media is more critical on people for their weight rather than what they did. Take Christina Aguilera for example, she is a famous singer, shes beautiful and the media says shes gained weight. Hope no one takes this the wrong way but, it would definitely take a lot more than some weight to stop me from getting those digits…. I think that it’s so outrageous that the media does what they want without consideration for the people they talk about famous and not famous.

    1. The media is definitely the driving force behind the obsession with weight and appearance. However it does not always have to be a negative thing. Obviously nobody wants to feel unattractive when comparing themselves to celebrities, especially other celebrities but maybe it is good motivation. If there was no emphasis placed on having the “perfect body” then nobody would care how they look. And because of this not many people would strive to be healthy. For example celebrities are very diligent about getting back in shape after they have had a baby. And that is due to the fact that they feel they have to. How many people in everyday society have a baby and then ‘let themselves go’? Sometimes the pressure of this body image can be a good thing.

      1. I definitely agree with this because if you think about it almost every actor that does a role where he/she has to look a certain way they adjust their bodies to it. or if an actor/actress has to gain weight, lose weight, or gain muscle they adjust their workout regiments accordingly. But I know that not everyone has access to a gym membership, or a personal trainer, or even to buy healthy food. Their are a lot of people who cant afford to go to a healthy store or buy food to keep their health perfect, and if someone works all the time to support themselves or their family I dont think they would have time to workout either.

  13. The pressure put on young women and girls in our society to stay thin, even as opposed to curvy, is unfortunate, and it is a good sign that more and more people with a large public platform are beginning to lament it. However, I think the next big step forward should be proposing solutions, not merely pointing out the problem. Perhaps we can begin to slowly faze out models and actresses below a certain BMI and slowly faze in models and actresses above this BMI. At the same time, we should not have too many models and actresses above a certain BMI either because obesity is legitimately unhealthy and should not be promoted any more than anorexia. There is a happy healthy medium out there, and that is the image our society should celebrate.

  14. In my own experience I understand the peer pressure to strive for that size zero. And this is coming from someone who is not at all over weight and has always been told how skinny I am and asked how am I so skinny. Even though I hear those comments I don’t usually take them to heart. I still have that voice in my head saying “no your not and you could be smaller.” I 100% admit that and I blame media. Though I could stand to exercise more, for my health, I know I am just fine the way I am. I always remind myself that the media is false, those magazines and billboards, no one actually looks like that it is all photoshopped. No one should be trying to change the way they look to conform with the media because that is impossible. Wether you think your nose or ears or feet are too big, they are what makes you you, and even though I might look at myself in the mirror and think “EWWW” I constantly remind myself I am perfect the way I am.

  15. Unfortunately, we are a society of craving acceptance. We always want to be on top and we always want to be socially accepted. This is instilled into our minds as we go through our middle school years and high school years and I feel that it’s not until we are older and more mature and have more life experiences under our belt that we tend to shy away from the norm. Media is a huge factor in being accepted because of your weight and I feel sorry for these poor girls that dream of being models but they just were not born with that genetic background. I do feel that our society is starting to come around not only to weight factors but to accepting everybody for who/what they are. I read in an article that I wish I could remember that there is a baby magazine out there that has a beautiful little girl who has down-syndrome on the cover. Not a blue eyed blonde hair perfectly posed baby and I felt so much joy come over me. That is a wonderful thing and if that showed me anything it’s that maybe our society is starting to come around to accepting people the way that they come.

  16. The amount of social inequality our society has is baffling. I think our media and mindsets of people need a good kick in the butt so they can finally face reality. The reality is, not every human being is going to be the ideal size and fitness. For some people its physically impossible, for others..they just don’t want to look like that. But the media will display these “perfect bodies” until its burned into our minds. People care too much about what others think and others have too many opinions on things that shouldn’t even matter to them. Everyone has things they want to change about themselves but if you live your life constantly troubled by these wishes, you’ll be missing out on the great things life has to offer.

  17. In today’s society and culture, labels are so frequently made. Everyone is given a body type. Some people can eat whatever they choose and not gain a pound, while others are so particular about what they consume in their diet. Many are often ostracized for their weight in wrestling or ballet, where they are told by their coaches that they need to lose weight. Last year when I was on a plane, a man was forced to move his seat because he was too obese for just one seat. It is an unhealthy practice to look at someone and tell them they are overweight. Who are you to judge? Many people are so self-conscious about their weight and it is a very sensitive topic of conversation. When someone is confronted as being fat or overweight, they may look at themselves differently. These types of people are the most vulnerable to getting an eating disorder and become overly obsessed with what they are eating and fixate on the calories as well. I feel like weight should be kept confidential. Everyone has a unique body structure and they should embrace it and not feel ashamed to live in it everyday.

  18. This is the most true blog i have ever seen. Both in the media and in real life, women are being ridiculed for their weight if it is not “a size zero.” We need to focus more on who the person is on the inside. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are on the outside. I personally think that people worry too much about how they weigh and look. If you are happy with the way you are on the outside, don’t change it! Be happy who you are, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

    1. I absolutely agree that women are far too ridiculed for their physical appearance. Society does need to shift their focus. When society is constantly beating women down for not being thin enough, it destroys them. They cannot be happy if they know that they are judged as being overweight by someone else’s standards. In fact, the only standards that matter are the ones you set for yourself. You are the only person that can tell yourself what is and is not acceptable for you. Society is focused on hammering women to be thin, when we should be praising them for just being who they are meant to be.

    2. I agree with David and Ellie that women are judged by their weight. I cannot stress enough the importance of a women’s inner self confidence. Women need to accept what they have and embrace it. Imperfections are what make each woman unique and special. Society’s mold of the perfect women and the ideal body for a woman is just not acceptable. We are all made to be different and do not need to be a size 0. Inner beauty and self confidence is far more attractive than a women starving herself trying to reach society’s ideal body weight.

  19. I totally agree with David, I really don’t understand why women find it absolutely necessary to worry so much about their body image. With that being said, what’s inside someone is what really matters. All the time I see the people around me “fall in love” for all the wrong reasons. For example, sex, to show off the other person to their friends, just to have someone to be with, or for the way they look. I look at the movie’s and all of these beautiful actors “falling in love” but it’s just a movie… the real thing is not about the fake reality that movies and T.V. shows portray, it is about finding someone who loves YOU for YOU. I hear this all the time, but it is so true. I’m one of those people who is still trying to find that person, but advise I learned from a friend told me, “It doesn’t matter that everyone around us is finding the love of their life, just be patient, because guess what? They were.”

    1. Yes, what’s inside really matters, but guys are going to first approach a girl based off of their looks solely, so a women finding it necessary to worry about their body image seems completely normal to me. We have created “Lust In First Sight” instead of “Love At First Sight” because so many people, like you said,”fall in love” based off of looks. But girl, you have got to understand that most of these women that are obsessed with their body image can’t simply “shake it”. It’s embedded into their psyche from our society.

      1. I agree to that. It is the media’s fault for all this craziness about looks and weight. This is one of the reasons I avoid watching TV except for sports and movies and the news. I don’t care if a celebrity has gained weight. It won’t influence me, and it doesn’t matter. The media needs to stop trying to dictate how people should look and leave that matter to the individual.

  20. I definitely agree with this article it shouldn’t matter what are size and weight we are. We are all human beings that should matter more. Growing up I always was the skinny girl. I have always been judged as being too skinny. I have always struggled with gaining weight it’s just in my genes I guess. Girls would always ask do you eat? It always bugged me, and still to this day it still does. Even though girls would always say they would want my body I always tell them no you don’t you have an amazing body. I would want their body because they had meat on their bones and for me I just look like a stack of bones. But after realizing I can’t help that is just how my body is so I have learned to accept it. Our society should show that it’s what matters on the inside more on the outside. If you are happy with your size and weight don’t let anyone else bring you down. It’s better to be different than blend in.

  21. I would love to see what the person behind the computer, who is typing all those absurd things (the media), really looks like. I am sure they are not perfect either, no one is. So why is it okay for them to go behind a computer screen and say what women should look like? We need to stop listening to the media and understand we are who we are and people criticizing and judging us is not going to make anything better. I may be able to gain and shed a few pounds here and there, but I am always going to be me. It is what matters on the inside and how you accept the person you are that truly matters, and once you have done that, the media and other negative people around you can not bring you down. We must embrace our inner beauty.

    1. Vanessa, I definitely agree with you here. Who knows who the person behind the computer screen is? Are they unhappy with the way they look and feel the need to take it out on others. This just goes to show that you have to trust your instincts and understand that society’s views on how you should look are not as important as what you deem is comfortable for you to be healthy.

    2. I completely agree with Vanessa, a person doesn’t love themselves then they will never truly be happy. You can alter you weight, change your hair color, or even change your clothes but it’s what’s inside that is what really counts. Whether I am over weight, under weight, just average body side I am truly confident and happy with what I represent as a women and how I was raised to be. I will never look like a model or a celebrity; I am just going to look like me. I fine with that. I don’t need air brushing in pictures to change my imperfections because they make me unique.

  22. I love love love this comment above. Couldn’t have described this any better myself! It’s not alright for someone who you don’t even know, don’t know what they look like, to tell you how you should look. I agree that it is your life and that once people stop caring how they look, that is when the media and all of these other institutions will leave us alone. And I honestly think this could happen if everyone just stops… literally just stop worrying about the way you look, and if you don’t like it, get off your butt and workout or fix your apparel, it’s simple things that make people happy. The media is not to blame, it is the individual who thinks they are so imperfect.

  23. I feel like the writer of this blog and most of the commentators don’t exactly understand what it feels ACTUALLY TO BE one of those girls who’s life revolves around striving for that perfection.The blog entry itself is wonderful, but I simply read it as “the media doesn’t matter, your beautiful, don’t listen to the words and images that have been shoved down your throat your entire life!” For many women, this is impossible. I applaud the girl that wrote this because she stated she does not have the ideal body image but isn’t bothered by it. I would do anything to live in that mindset. She states in the blog, “If a women is fine with her body image then who are we as a society to tell them otherwise?” the reality is though, most of the women aren’t fine with their body image, BECAUSE society tells them otherwise. It’s a never ending cycle that burdens many girls, like myself, into counting calories until perfection. Yes, what matters on the inside ultimately counts, but for a girl (or even a guy) with extreme body issues, none of that matters, because in the mirror, it still isn’t good enough. It is forever embedded into our minds and sadly many of the women who grew up believing that they have to fall under the ideal image of beauty will die trying to.

  24. It’s hard for girls to grow up knowing that society has visions for what they must look like in order to fit in. Girls should be free to grow into women without being afraid that they aren’t tiny enough. Society places emphasis on calorie counting and healthy eating for young girls for all of the wrong reasons. They are encouraging unhealthy habits to prevent young girls from gaining too much weight and extending beyond the beloved size zero. Because physical appearance is judged first, these girls buy into the fact that society’s opinion matters more than their own health.

  25. Society stinks! I hate that everyone feels the need to “fit in.” Eat this, take this pill, drink this shake, go to this gym, buy this fitness center…. I’m tired of it and people I know actually buying into it. Sure some of these things may help with your image, but it’s all in the inside that counts. You don’t see people that are truly in love base their attractions to each other because of physical appearance, but THE INSIDE feelings.

    1. I totally agree with this. The happiest and most successful couples in society are the ones that love and accept each other for who they are. Their wives may not be a size zero, but these men love them for who they are because they understand that their wives inner beauty makes their external beauty possible. Couples that focus on appearance don’t always feel comfortable with one another. It’s important to remember that what’s inside is the most important. Your inner beauty radiates your personality and makes it possible for others to love you.

      1. I agree, loving oneself is the key to having others love you. And as a male, there is nothing sexier than confidence. Your dress size does not make up who you are, you define who you are, not two numbers. Women are more than two numbers whether they be a 00, 05, or 14. There is a lot more than just looks. Women of all shapes and sizes are being loved for who they are, and frankly the only number a man will ever ask for is your phone number, not your dress size.

    2. I do agree with Alyssa, Society pushes body image too much! There are so many different commercials and ads involving diet pills or fitness regimens that are the way to lose weight or get the body you always dreamed of. Fitness magazines promote secrets to help people lose weight or diet plans that keep weight off. I do believe in being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle but some people take it to the extreme. Beauty comes from within and people must be happy with what is inside as well as what is on the outside.

  26. We live in a cruel society that is largely influenced by the media. The media portrays the human body in such ways that it is almost unnatural. Unfortunately, society feels no remorse for those who physically cannot shape themselves to what the media would view as ideal. This problem can be found among men too. While females are shown with their size zero waists, males are shown with their six-pack abs and muscular form. This is the media’s image of how we should look. But what gives us the idea we have to base our standards of ideal on those we receive from the media? I have a skin condition that has plagued me since my freshman year of high school. Though it is not a weight issue I dealt with, the insecurities I dealt with were the same. I learned the hard way that you have to accept eachother for who we are. We aren’t perfect. Even the models and actors you see on television have people that edit the final cuts to make things look better. The more people who adopt this concept of acceptance, the more progress we will see from societies views of “ideal”.

    1. I definitely see the point you are making here and totally agree. Photoshop is a celebrity’s best friend. I’m quite experienced in the graphic arts world and with the proper use of the program you can give someone a total makeover and make them look entirely different than they actually do. The way I see it, when celebrities launch campaigns where they ditch the photoshopped images, I gain more respect for them because they are sending the right message to the world: that accepting yourself and your body for who you are meant to be is more important than focusing on who you are not. When we can accept these things about ourselves, we are able to accept them about others. This opens up society to the possibility of deterring from the beloved “size zero” image that women are expected to conform to.

  27. This whole idea of a “size zero” is perfectly portrayed in the recent Victoria Secret Fashion Show. Honestly it is sad that women and men strive for these bodies, or look for women that have this image that doesn’t even look healthy. Some of these women look like they just eat a cube of cheese when they get hungry and then puke it up after. I know this is a stereotype, but movies don’t help their case. For example the whole eating a cube of cheese when one is trying to loose weight is from the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.” The women’s “diet” was to eat a cube of cheese when she got hungry. I wouldn’t doubt that some of these women’s diets are little to nothing during their modeling careers. When I watched 5 minutes of the V.S.F.S. I could literally see one of these girls’ hip bones who was modeling swimwear. That is not healthy that is sick. A beautiful women is someone who can enjoy a slice of cake, or be able to eat whatever they want for that matter and still feel like a model.

    1. But you have to consider genetics into that. You can’t just assume that they don’t eat or have some sort of eating disorder. I’m not saying that they don’t have any of these problems (I’m sure they do), but body types do differ. I’ve done some reading on genetics in this matter and the role your genetics play is substantial. The human body has over 80 different genes that control the way the body processes carbs, fats, proteins, and how your body will respond to exercise (Aubrey, 2011). There are people who can eat as much as they like and STILL be skinny due to the way there body metabolizes food. I’m not saying that we should strive to fight against our natural bodies, I’m merely giving an insight into the genetic factor that comes into play in this aspect. For example, my friend doesn’t exercise, yet can eat a bucket of fried chicken from a restaurant and still have room for more. He’s 5’5 and weighs maybe 115 pounds. He can’t help it that he’s just skin and bones.

  28. I really enjoyed reading this article! I to, both having first-hand experience myself as well as seeing my younger sister go through a terrible eating disorder, can completely agree with this article. The pressures from society and perceptions that you have to be a certain way can force individuals to try to become something they are not. Coming from a family where my older sister is a double zero because of genetics, and myself being 5’ 10” and athletically built, upset me all my youth because I could never wear a swim suit like she could of look anything close to what she can in comparison to celebrities and such. I grew to love who I am and the body that I have and can completely understand the impacts media, friends, and family can have on an individual. From generation to generation the pressures from society are increasing and harming America’s youth. With my younger sister fighting a terrible eating disorder I can see just how bad things have gotten. I believe that America, like its people, should be different both in appearance and ethnicities, it’s what makes a person who they are and who has the right to tell them they are wrong for being an individual? I believe the best way to fight the pressures of society is to teach our future children and the youth now that acceptance lies from within and to not base their judgment off of celebrities because everything in the media is altered too!

    1. My sister and I both have completely different body types. When we were younger I was always very thin and she struggled with her weight. As we grew into young adults the roles reversed and I seemed to be the one that was always struggling with my weight. For many years I was involved in a competitive dance team and always felt the as though I could never be thin enough and was comparing myself to her. Much as what your sister is going through I went through for many years feeling as though I had to do whatever I could to control my weight. It took my years to try accepting my body for what it is. I am not now, nor was I every ever over weight but when I looked in the mirror I was not seeing a thin person. Even when people would say I was thin I would just ignore them thinking they had no idea what thin really was or should be. I compared myself to what I would see on the television or in magazines hoping that if I worked harder I could eventually look like them. It takes time to change your mind set and I wish young girls would learn to accept themselves for who they are and not what society wants them to be.

  29. I just took my final in Biology and the last test was on genes and how we get everything from our parents or their parents as a recessive gene. Genetics does play a role, yes, but it has nothing to do with eating habits and fitness exercises. I think it is interesting that we are so quick to judge one’s appearance and not take into account that they are just naturally born that way. I changed my opinion in an earlier comment when I said that all super models don’t eat and that they worry so much about how sexy they look, they have been given a gift and they are using it. I think that a lot of American’s want to be skinny, but like I said they can’t help the way they were born. This is my last comment and I would just like to say that everyone who posted on these comments has shown me and others who read it that everyone is perfect in their own way and that society should not be a factor when someone thinks they should look a certain way.

  30. I completely agree with this article on a personal level. For the longest time, I have always been on a “diet”. My aunt even told me that when I was around eight years old she asked me if I wanted anything from McDonald’s and my response was “no because then I’ll get too fat and won’t fit through the door”. I’m not even fat, I just always think I am and that has been my problem. I see all these skinny girls on the television and always wanted to get as close to that as possible. I’ve lost 15 pounds since this February and now my family has told me I’m too thin, until this day I don’t agree with them. It’s always been a sensitive topic, my friends and even guys tell me I look good but I could never take a compliment because I always say, I’m not and I get called crazy. It’s become an obsession how some of my friends and family would call it. I feel growing up society had a lot to of influence on my weight. Even today if I say I’m fine my unconscious mind has me do otherwise and there I am trying to lose weight again. I know I will never be a size zero because my structure is broader and I’m okay with that fact but I tell myself 5 more pounds wont hurt. I do blame society for making girls feel this way and making some girls go to extremes to look like “Barbie”.

    1. I think we can only blame society to a certain extent; eventually we need to be responsible for what we surround ourselves with. If we are always reading fashion magazines, or watching reality shows, or looking at gossip online, we will eventually mix what society expects with what we expect. And although it is hard to escape the endless pictures and critics of celebrities, we do have control over who and what we surround ourselves with. Parents also need to have a stronger role in monitoring their children’s media intake, and take special care to make sure their children understand positive body image.

  31. I couldn’t agree more. It’s a sad reality how ignorant some people are. Always judging/criticizing people’s weight without even taking a second to think if that individual is suffering from some kind of eating disorder. I don’t see a point of making fun of someone who is too skinny or too over weight. The ideal body the media so passionately promotes does not exist. It’s sad that it targets people of all ages and that some kids in school are bullied because of their weight.

  32. I agree with article immensely, ever since the use of sexual appeal in advertisements we have seen an ever increasing focus on having the “ideal” body image. This ideal body image was created by advertising agencies and what they thought people should look like rather than what they actually do look like. Not only have these admen created a false and harming view of people, but also have been detrimental to human health. Ever since the rise of unrealistic sexual appeal in advertising, we have seen a rise in eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Most people are not constructed to look this way and if they do try than they could attain some serious health issues. I believe our society needs to reform the way we view these people such as models because i know that the mainstream advertising agencies will not change their ways. If we could only adjust and have mass society acknowledge that this is not what most people look like and is most definitely not the “norm” to be skinny and perfect, then we will have a much more content society.

    1. I agree, however the “norm” has not always been to be skinny. Advertisement companies can make any body type “popular” and want costumers to buy whatever product they are selling. A few decades ago, the curvy Marilyn Monroe body type was the ideal body, and companies were even selling pills to gain weight. But, for women who are naturally taller and less curvy, this body type is is unachievable, even with a pill.

  33. What I find most interesting about this topic is the fact that primarily women are the ones that have to deal with this type of ostracizing. It’s almost like another way for men to show their dominance on society’s social ladder. In all honesty there are a great number of men that are overweight in the media and advertisements, as well as in the general public, but all anyone really cares about is all the overweight women walking around. Really!? People need to open their eyes. If being overweight is not acceptable for women, then why does that have no impact on men? Wether you are a man or women, your body is your body, and it should not be scrutinized because of what society feels is acceptable- especially when there are other issues like gender inequalities, health concerns, and poor self esteem accompanying the topic.

    1. You are right that your body IS your body, however I disagree that men are not scrutinized for their bodies. Men do have body image issues. Men are influenced by society. Both men and women have body image issues. The reason it seems like it does not have an impact on men is due to the gender expectations that men should not show any “weak” emotions. In my opinion, men have it harder because they are not allowed to say how they really feel without being judge for their lack of masculinity. Regardless, no gender should feel inadequate because of their body.

  34. I feel like the “normal” weight for Americans has been influenced by the countries that have people that are thinner than Americans. Because the society sees thinner or bigger people causes the compare and contrast to the different countries around the world. Media and advertisements isn’t necessarily the place to blame, people are to blame, because we are the ones who make thinner people be the acceptance in our society. Different weight differences are caused by the geographical difference to a country’s land, shape, and form. Asian countries are smaller which provides a decrease in car, bus mobility, and it generates people to walk to their destinations. Whereas, America has more land contributing to more car, bus mobility and less walking. Society only sees the image results to a body, not the reason behind why a certain group is thinner or bigger than a certain group. Overall, society needs to recognize that the weight of someone can be influenced by where a person lives or lived or the genes to a certain race.We all have different body shapes just like the different color of skin and the different face features.

    1. Nicole, I thought it was very interesting that you brought up the influence of location by country. If you think about it, many women do desire looks that are more common in other areas of the world. I would disagree in saying that even though we feed the media’s acceptance, it does not mean that the media isn’t to blame at all. I think the media contributes greatly to body shaming, but again, there are many reasons why a person may be bigger or smaller.

  35. One thing that still, to this day, confuses me, is where the idea of beauty changed from curvy to paper thin. Historically and biologically speaking, curves in a woman and/or a much fuller woman has always been seen as healthy and fertile and able to take care and supply for children. Yet in modern times the idea of beauty chases a thin figure. It appalls me — Im mean where did the mindset change? If you search for the ideal body shape it is supposedly a figure 8 (bust to hip to waist ratio of .7 measured mathematically) yet through media we idolize starving, thin, malnutritioned women? I don’t mean it in a negative way, some people, like myself, have a high metabolism and cannot gain weight or mass, but why do we put those people on a pedestal? It causes the majority of women to feel inferior to rethink their idea of beauty and to not accept their bodies unless they look exactly like the girls in the pictures in magazines or the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. As a male, i’ve always preferred the more full figures because if a woman has a little meat on her bones, that means she’ll be able to provide the same for her children, and I do not want my children to ever starve.

  36. I agree completely with what Cokere said. The typical weight for an average woman has changed drstically over the years. It’s unbelieveable how many people are judged just because of their weight. Not many people consider genetics to play a big factor; they automatically assume it’s because that person eats a lot. Everyone is different in their own way, they should embace it.

    1. That is very true. I think that when we see someone who weighs more than the average person, we automatically assume they are unhealthy, eat fast food, and don’t work out. However, we are not their doctor and do not know that person’s individual health. Body type and family history plays a role in your weight. When I ran a marathon, there were runners older than me and bigger than me who passed me. Size is not the deciding factor in someone’s health.

  37. Danie07 makes a very valid point. Your body is yours! Nobody should discourage you or tell you otherwise. Variety is good. It’s okay to be something that is completely different from what society expects. Being picked on or teased about weight can really destroy someone’s self esteem, whether you know it or not. Some people tend to hide their feelings, and some people eat to make their feelings go away. Either way we should accept eachother for who we are, and not judge. Judging does no good to anyone, it’s simply pointless.

  38. The media can also influence one into thinking their not good enough for anyone. The typical Hollywood starlight is skinny with barely any fat on her. Same with men, most are very muscular and in good shape. The fans of celebrities tend to look up to their favorite celebrity and do whatever they can to look exactly like them. It could just be exterior changes like getting their hair done or buying the same clothes. In most cases celebrities put their diet plans out and people use them in hopes to get the same body. This can be very unhealthy and dangerous at times!

    1. Also, looking on commercials and magazines for those diet plans, you see celebrities introduce body fat loss pills or “healthier weight loss meals,” which I’m sure most of them don’t use that. A lot of celebrities get lyposuction, or pills. Yeah, you can loose weight by exercise and healthy diet like three meals a day, small portions, fruit etc. But everyone wants to lose that weight faster so pills and purging does that job. It’s sad because as all of this is happening, more obese or overweight teens are doing pills and puking. Bullying and judging in schools play a big role in it too. There’s no stop to judgment. And the ways that people lose weight like fast body weight loss pills are unhealthy and could harm your body in the long run.

  39. The most important thing is being healthy. People assumes that means being skinny….not true at all. I know some not “model” size women who are not only beautiful but in more shape than skinny ol me. If the weight of the person does not cause them health issue than what is the issue? Slowly but surely the world is getting better and better with the weight issue though (in my opinion). There has been a few plus size models try out for and getting pretty good in America’s Next Top Model reality show. Some stores are geared towards bigger women only, and they have actually cute clothes now. As more time goes by it will continue to get better I hope.

    1. I agree with you Syndea. As long as you are eating healthy and exercising your body, the number of your weight does not determine whether or not you are healthy. I also think the prejudice towards “bigger” people is decreasing also. With shows such as “The Biggest Loser”, also teaches people that weight issues is not a laughing matter and that it is very hard work to improve. There are certain clothing stores that won’t hire you unless you look like their idea of a “model.” Stores like Abercrombie and Fitch or Hollister do this. I know because I have had friends who have worked there and tell me what their requirements are. As long as we continue to help others become more kind and humble, I believe things will get better also.

      1. It is very sadly true, those store do not hire bigger people; but why would they? They don’t even bother to included them in their clothing sizes. The whole thing is messed up but accepted as ok or normal to do. I really would like to address that issue but they would just deny not hireing because of the applicants size and I would get no where. Just sad the message we give eachother sometimes.

    2. SydneaMc, also I agree with you on your statement. Even when our world is known as the “slim” society, our society is realizing that we aren’t always going to be slim, or beautiful, or average, or a model. I think that its good that we are opening up to the upper sizes, and I think we need more stores and models that are bigger to promote OKness of bigger people. At least our society is opening up. I mean if we didn’t and we were an all slim society, well jeez we’d be more screwed up then I thought.

    3. SydneaMc, I completely agree with your statement on health. Just because someone is overweight, doesn’t mean he or she is not physically fit or healthy. Just because someone is thinner, or healthier looking, doesn’t actually mean they are. I definitely think we are becoming better with the weight issue at including plus size women. No store should stop at certain sizes to accommodate their definition of normal.

  40. Sydnea, I agree with you. Being healthy is the most important thing. If a person’s doctor is ok with their weight then what does it matter to anyone else? I know that some people do get extremely overweight from poor eating and lifestyle choices and that is a problem. But for the average woman the pressure to be “stick thin” is awful. I love America’s next top model and some of the plus sized models are even more beautiful than their size zero counter parts. According to the CDC the average woman is 5 foot 3 and weighs 166 pounds. How in the world are young girls supposed to look at models who are 5’10” and weigh 120 and still think of themselves as beautiful. I believe that we should promote more sports, activeness, and healthy eating and that those should be the goals to strive for.

    1. I agree, I do think the media needs to push more ideals subject to healthly living as an individual. However, fashion is money. There is so much associated with the attempt to be beautiful that cost money. Makeup, hair products, clothing, diet weight loss pills. The agenda for profit puts Americans at risk for a bigger issue at hand. The goal is provide a dream and make money off of it.

  41. No matter where we go, there is media. We don’t judge media, media judges us. I’m not much of a judgment maker when it comes to our society because we are all equal, but yes admitting it too, I have judged. Yes we all know the term, “size matters.” It doesn’t. Yeah size matters to what? Stores, shops, how much we eat, what we do everyday? According to society, as we know it, that’s what were used to. I’m small and I get judged for looking young and even being small. I have been judged like that since I was 8. It’s wrong to judge someone by what they look like or how small or how big or skinny we are. We have a messed up society, but we can’t let people take our thoughts away. So what I think a better way if we are to judge, is to keep our comments to ourselves, better yet don’t even think it. But knowing this world as the messed up world it is, we are all going to say or think something wrong of someone. It’s just up to what you can do better about it.

  42. The media should not portray their ideal of beauty and inflict it onto others to accept. It is important that everyone be their own kind of beautiful. No one should be judged according to their looks. There are some concerns I have associated with weight. I once was a heavier framed person. When I lost weight I realized some things about being heavier within your control. It shows a lack of discipline, unhealthiness physically, and mentally. It is an issue that someone who can control their way should take seriously. Our bodies are not made to carry that much access weight. No one should be ridiculed for their weight big or small. I wouldn’t encourage acceptance of a unhealthy lifestyle that you can control. Some things you cannot control. People have to also understand that people have their likes or dislikes. Unfortunately the large majority of people do not prefer heavier indivuals. It goes beyond the weight itself but the but about the mindset it took for that individual to get to the position where they appear they have no discipline or ambition to take care of themselves. I have been on both sides of the fence. People respect me more with the weight loss, I attract different love interests as it relates to men who are more ambitious and driven, because I appear the same way. Their is a lot of focus and discipline that goes into living a healthy lifestyle especially when there is so much temptation.

    1. Tiffany, I agree with your statement. Our world today focuses on the average, thinner side and more men and or woman are attracted to thinner men/woman. We are all focused on how we should present to our community. Fortunately, many people have a realistic mind and don’t care at all of how someone looks. There’s always pros and cons, but as the best advice to give is to be yourself and don’t let people that judge, upset you. You are who you are and yes you will find someone who likes you for you!

      1. Nora, I agree that there is someone for everyone. There is an old saying that one person’s chicken is another person’s steak. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I do see more people leaning towards character. Visual is our first instinct so it becomes hard to draw someone into a person if they are not seen as physically appealing. Most individuals will get to know someone through some other median where they have the time to really get to know them. Otherwise it’s mostly physical attraction that’s the driver.

  43. Such a good article! I don’t think people will ever stop making fun of someone because of their weight. Which saddens me but so many people are just ignorant nowadays. Although the body image has changed. It used to be wanting to be super skinny, like a size zero. Now it has changed to girls wanting to become “thick”. Either way, I feel like it gives girls false hope to look any way other than what their body is. I have a friend who dealt with her body image for a long time. It was so sad to see her pretty much hate herself because of her body. She was a beautiful girl too. But I believe strongly that the media has a huge impact on body image, self-esteem issues and the way people as a society view “beauty” as well as how they view themselves! Unfortunately today, every single model you see on average is stick-thin and shapeless. OR they are extremely photo-shopped to look like they have no imperfections. Fake breasts, nose jobs, etc. are popular surgeries performed and discussed about in magazines. Cellulite, stretch marks, and other imperfections are put down on in magazines whenever a star has them but they are normal and common things but people view them as bad flaws since the media says that they are.. My opinion on body image is that if you feel comfortable then you’re excelling beauty to everyone. I’m not saying that you have to be curvy to be beautiful, but curvy is nice to see once in a while because nowadays the average person is more curvy. However, others are naturally thin and can’t gain weight but still look amazing. There is not one single ideal body type in my eyes. So long as the person is healthy and confident, they are beautiful:) There is too much stress on outer appearance nowadays, people should consider that the inner is much more attractive.

  44. This is very unfortunate. Especially because the ideal culture is to be accepting of everyone, when the REAL culture is that every one is unkind and unaccepting of others, including their ideas as well as image. The image the macro world asserts on the micro individual shapes every person in some way. And when there are young girls thinking they MUST look a specific way, AKA like a barbie, the become discouraged. And unfortunately, some parents are too focused on their own lives they fail to address this problem with their dear children, making the problem worse. This reminds me of something, it is the same way with an individual with a sexually transmitted infection. Once this person is labeled as sexually diseased, they become disgusting, or a slut. When in reality, they may have been looking for love in all the wrong places, long ago. This brings home the sad fact, that EVERY one deserves love, every one deserves to be treated with respect. The real culture should start behaving as if it wants to be the ideal culture.

  45. Growing up with hypothyroidism, I know what it is like to feel like I have to lose weight to fit in. However, as I got older and started to figure out my body and who I was as a person, I realized that I love myself despite of a number. That being said, I totally disagree with the shaming of any body type. I don’t believe in a “fat” or “skinny” or any other word used to describe people’s bodies. Shaming a woman for weighing more than you is just as pathetic as shaming a woman for weighing less than you. I personally know how a disease or condition can control your weight, just as someone else could have trouble keeping it on. The main point is, you never know. You never know what is going on in someone’s body or their life and is no where in your part to judge. We are all fighting our own body image struggles everyday, so instead of making each other feel worse, we need to come together to help each other that every single body is beautiful, and knock down these body restrictions.

    1. Absolutely, everyone struggles to maintain their weight, and adding a condition to it only makes it worse. Instead of looking within ourselves for validation we look to the hottest celebrity of the month. Love yourself! Not the unaccepting eyes of the world!

      1. Yes, it is very unfortunate that we have to make sure other people like us in order for us to even like ourselves! However, it is part of our human nature to feel wanted or needed, and finding others’ acceptance is a way to fulfill that feeling. Even people with high self-esteem can feel down if they do not feel like they are wanted.

  46. I’ve had the problem of struggling to gain weight. I don’t work out and no matter how much I seem to eat I can’t gain a pound. Thin people also go through the criticism of the assumption of being anorexic. As much as I would love to help somebody in need, I get pushed away from giving blood because I do not reach their weigh limit. No matter what weight you are, people will always be criticized or want to be different than the way they are.

  47. I somewhat agree with this. As a young woman, I feel the pressure to be thin and attractive but it is not by the media. It is from my parents who are total workout junkies and body obsessors. Growing up, I was told “a moment on the lips is forever on the hips” by my mother if I reached for another cookie. I do not think that it is the media that influences us. It is the people around us. It is what we think people like to see based on our own judgement.

  48. The reality is that unfortunately we live in a society where looks matter the most. Media has been encouraging everyone to be thin because they will look good as compare to the ones who are fat. We live in a society where models are the role models for the young generation and for everyone. Everyone prefers to be like them. Society believes that everyone should look like a model and if they don’t. They will be discriminated by others. Media influences the members of society to do something wrong. If a model will look bad, she’ll get a plastic surgery and people now days are following that trend. Everyone has to be themselves because they all are unique in some way.

  49. It is safe to say that I can highly relate to this article. I have always had problems with my weight. At first, my parents wanted me to lose weight because of my health. I don’t blame them considering the fact that I was 7 years old and I already had high cholesterol. But here I am, over a decade later still being nudged about my weight. The way my parents treat me is as if I was morbidly obese. However I believe that I just need a few pounds off me and I’ll be set. I also believe that the reasoning behind why my parents are insistent on me losing weight is because of the media. I agree with this article when it states the fact that people in magazines or commercials are always thin, even on cartoons! Even children’s toys like Barbie dolls are created incredibly thin. With all of these social impacts, I grew up with a mindset that I have need to be skinny and just a little overweight is no exception. I’m sure my parents are the same way. With this being the case, I have always been insecure about my weight. I’m sure many girls are the same way as me due to all the social media that we are surrounded by.

  50. One thing that has always bothered me is how people are always so concerned with the weight of others and they judge them based on that. Bigger people must be slobs and do nothing but eat and smaller people must starve themselves. I think the big part of why people say these things is because they are self conscious and it makes them feel better. I think people should worry more about staying healthy and desire a long fruitful life. I think it’s silly when instead people focus so much on looks so much anyways. People think that looking good is the main way to attract a partner. In the end, looks isn’t what’s going to keep your partner; it’s your personality. Above all, I think everyone should try to stay positive about their body no matter what type it is and society should be less judgmental.

    1. Michael, I like that you brought up self-consciousness as another major factor. People have become way more worried about others than they should be as a way of losing focus within themselves. It is easy to make assumptions, and I agree that many individuals become concerned with others to hide their own flaws. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime, it is to not judge a book by its cover. Personality is everything compared to looks.

  51. I agree. There is so much pressure from society and the media on women to fit this mold of the ideal body. Some people’s bodies can’t physically fit that mold, they’re “too big’ or “too small” and they get shamed for being born that way. In the media, we are shown these perfect women with perfect bodies, who’s images are often Photoshopped to make them look even more perfect, and we are expected to look like them. You talked a lot about the shaming bigger women face, but the shaming also happens to the smaller women. People can sometimes go too far with justice for bigger women and skinny shame the women who are a size 0. Sometimes, just like the bigger women, they were just born that way. Smaller women are often told that they look like a twig or that they look like a boy, and that is just as bad as shaming a bigger women. We need to just accept people for how they look and not judge them by their appearance.

    1. Liz, I can completely agree with your statement on body shaming. Often times I think bigger women tend to turn on the slimmer ones because they feel so attacked. People sometimes forget that body shaming goes both ways and it ends up hurting all kinds of women. Unfortunately, many do get judged for the way they are born. Like you said, there is so much more pressure for acceptance on appearance and we should not be judging people by how they look.

    2. Liz, I totally agree with you that the pressure in woman is so strongly emphasized in the media that it takes hours and hours for a woman to walk out the door, boldly and confident, that she looks her ultimate best. Even then, though, it is never really quite enough. That hindered thought in the back of our minds that, “now that I think about it, this outfit makes me look __fat/too skinny/flat chested/blubbery/etc.___” often lingers in a woman mind. The sad part is that for woman, the thoughts never cease to end. Everyday is a battle for woman to be this unrealistic of “perfect.”

    3. Liz you are totally right about women being body shamed and having a lot of pressure on their shoulders about their image and about their weight. There are women who are naturally big boned and no matter what they do they are not this ideal shape that the media portrays women to be. That slim figure, and because they are not that shape they get down about it and they could possibly end up getting a eating disorder or even end up going into depression.

  52. It’s such a shame that society as a whole shames people who don’t fit into its qualifications of what it calls “normal.” However, there are some individuals who combat this argument. For example, Amy Schumer recently appeared on Ellen and she was comparing her body image to Kate Hudson’s. According to society, Amy Schumer wouldn’t fit the idea of a “Size Zero Body,” but the criticism against her is not strongly oppressed due to the fact that she is able to creatively combat society’s expectations through her own form of humor. So why is it that society can accept the flaws of certain individuals, but not others? It appears that it’s “rules” are set out to the people can’t accept their own body image and, in a way, society finds ways to overrule their mind with mischievous images that they don’t fit in.

  53. I think that this is so important for girls to know and not just girls it is important for anyone who has a weight issue. Society always has this standard that all girls want to achieve but the standard is actually bad to try and achieve because it can affect someone’s health. I think that society needs to learn how to accept people for who they are and not criticize them for who they are. Don’t let the society affect who you are just because of unrealistic standards. This is what I agree with that is wrong with society and social media.

    1. Society though in a way cares because they want people to live a healthy lifestyle. In America the news is always concerned about obese children and adults in the world and try to give tips. Then they contradict by saying to love our bodies which we should but there is a point when we need to actually take care of our bodies.

      1. Beautifully said! Yes it’s important to get rid of that “perfect image”, but we also need to focus on people’s health as well. We as a culture need to teach young woman that a healthy, fit body is much better than one’s physique that’s distorted due to eating disorders and photoshop.

  54. Society is set up in a way that it is rare for any woman to naturally achieve the perfect body image. It feels as though nobody is ever satisfied with themselves, or others, and I agree that much of the criticism is being played out over the media. According to the media, I’m pretty sure celebrities like Jennifer Aniston have been “pregnant” about twenty times now, just for gaining a few extra pounds. Though I accept my body just the way it is, I too, have become victim to valuing the wrong societal definition of beauty as a child. I’ve never agreed with shows like “Toddlers and Tiaras,” because they are taught at a very young age to limit their diets and pretend to be happy under the control of parents who force something so unnatural. I also think that it is wrong for women to lose opportunities in life based on their weight and appearance, as it happens so often. Just because someone doesn’t please typical societal norms, does not mean they are unqualified for something, or deserve to be treated any different. While more women are learning to accept themselves, it does not erase the fact that most haven’t.

    1. In society we often find that middle ground so hard to come by, especially for young woman. Eat too much and get criticized, or eat too little and be dubbed anorexic. It is so hard to find that proper middle ground where one won’t be judged. They don’t teach nutrition in the school system, and education often fails to teach about being healthy and making healthy life choices, as well as being self confident. Who is really to blame? Is it media? Or is it education who fails to provide proper information for young boys and girls?

  55. It is very sad to see that in this society even today we still reject many women who are not the average body type. There was a Disney movie that just came out called Moana and the main character had thick legs and arms, but her waist was of course pinched in to be very tiny. Which even with the little kids who watch this think that to be pretty you must have long hair and a very very tiny waist. I feel ashamed at myself because my body doesn’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model on the magazine because I know that’s what society thinks is perfect. According to society I would probably be too big. The truth is that those magazine models are photoshopped and if celebrities don’t have the body type they get plastic surgery. Let us all do a favor for each other and not judge lets try to be kind to one another because society defiantly won’t be there for us.

    1. I definitely get where you are coming from, now a days little girls are being sold barbie dolls that give them the impression that women should look a certain way, but in reality women come in all shapes and sizes. I feel that we, as a society, need to stand up shape they way we view a perfect body.

      1. I do think that though men should also step up and help because I think men like are somewhat the main problem. Most women do all this plastic surgery and work out just because they want men to find them attractive. I’m not saying that all women, but most of the females out there.

      2. I don’t think that it is only men’s fault for why women feel body shamed, other women are also to blame. it isn’t just pin pointed problem it is multiple view points in society that make us believe to be a “perfect” figure for women. It goes both ways, it is not just women who get body shamed, women shame men for not being six foot and not having a body of a Greek god.

    2. It’s truly disturbing to think that most of the time the people we view as having “perfect” bodies are normally computer edited so much they look distorted. These models have the top of the line make up artists, the best in photoshop tech, and the best photographers money can buy. Woman have it much harder than men. When you think of the ideal man body, you think of someone like the “Rock” or someone extremely healthy with chiseled muscles. However, the standard of woman is too unrealistic. I completely agree that the media needs to do a better job with having realistic protagonists in movies.

      1. Not only do I think girls have it rough, but I do agree that men have it rough as well. Not all women think men need to have like rock hard abs, but most women prefer that rather than someone a little bigger. Even though media does show more shapes and sizes than they ever have men still like the smaller side of girls and women still like muscular.

      2. Yeah I do agree women definetly have it a lot harder then men when it comes to physical standards, yet men have it hard to an extent to which I am glad you brought up. I feel that people may not acknowledge the fact that men can also feel body shamed due to the fact society may think men don’t care about their appearance as much as women due, but in some cases that’s not true. Everyone wants to feel good in their own skin and it definitely hurts when you feel that you have to have a six pack and an amazing jaw line to feel good about yourself. Why cant society just be happy with the way we are.

  56. I’m not sure if the standard will ever change, but I believe men have an easier time than woman do when it comes to body image. Not to mention boys have better metabolisms than woman, and eating huge amounts of food can be looked at as a “manly” activity. A man on a Sunday can sit down and pound beers and eat wings and watch football and that’s looked at as normal. If a woman were to do that she’d be judged as a “pig” or too manly. It’s really unfair.

    1. It does suck because women are constantly watching what they eat. There was this video I watched this girl was on like a date with a guy and she ordered a salad and right after the date she went to eat McDonalds cause she didn’t want to seem fat on the date. Honestly, I have done this like I would like go out to eat with a guy and right when I got home I would just raid my pantry for food cause I didn’t want to seem fat.

    2. Tino, I one hundred percent agree with your comment regarding this blog. When a woman is at a restaurant and she orders burgers and wings and is eating with her hands just like the man would do, then she is looked at weirdly. She is a pig just like you said because it is just not “lady like” to eat until you are full. The media makes women believe that if they don’t look a certain way or have a certain shape that they are not beautiful and that really is just unfair.

  57. @N.O. I think men should be more open to feeling body shamed because it would make a difference rather than all girls feeling ashamed. We need the men to speak up because well men in society are still dominant, but lets not get into that because that’s a whole other story. If you think about it though all these girls have such bad opinions about their bodies because of some of these models and I talked to a few guys to get their opinion on what body type they look for in a girl and most actually really just care about the personality. We must make sure though that everyone excepts every body type because some men and women do call people sticks which is rude.

  58. Isn’t it crazy?! There is a part of society out there that truly care more about others than they care about themselves (in a very demeaning way). “she’s too this, he’s too that”. People should take a second and check themselves because those who are overweight might even be happier than that over-criticizing person is. From the destruction that has been done to us in society, there is A LOT of healing to be done in every aspect.
    WE ARE SOCIETY. We don’t have to let the media or the bitter people get to us anymore; we can have a choice from here on out. It is bizarre that there is so much pressure in it seems like every little thing we do or don’t do. It’s a beautiful thing that we are realizing that the media and society can be a great way to break us down and belittle us but that’s only if we allow it. Everyone is beautiful and no one knows what’s good for anyone else ESPECIALLY if they don’t even know what’s best for themselves.

  59. Kuzanek makes an important point in the beginning of this blog post in which society has set the norm for women to be thin, with little to no body fat. Furthermore, in the 6 years that this post was posted there has been an instrumental change in women and their body size which is portrayed in the media. While the media chooses to use the thin women, we have seen that there are women in the media with varying body sizes and this change occurred with the change in the society’s perception in what the ideal women should look like. In the present society, see many women who now have large upper bodies and bottoms. These norms are not benefiting society and the media has the opportunity to change this on a macro level by diversifying the shape and sizes of women. The change in food lifestyle from migrating from the fast food restaurants that the U.S society is so popular for and the reason why the world sees this as the rising factor in obesity in the U.S is most likely one of the important steps for people to make to be able to make a change. In hindsight, there are multitude of factors that is contributing to this issue in the U.S society and such we should be educated on this and be well informed on nutrition and overall health rather than trying to fit into society’s ridiculous norm of being so thin or having certain body parts a certain size. This is ties into the looking-glass self-concept as changing your food lifestyle, you are ultimately changing your appearance and perceptions to others in society.

  60. On television many times during Boxing,UFC, even Football they have their share of card girls or cheerleaders that are in perfect shape and based on looks and height and qualities external instead of internal like the personality or their intelligence. This isn’t only for men, but women have their share with Modeling like the Victoria secret angels have to be on strict diets and meet certain requirements. I find it disappointing that our society has come to a point where we have to lower our self of esteem because one is not a certain height, weight, skin color, etc. These requirements to be perfect aren’t healthy either as a wrestler/boxer i know how hard it is to cut weight and maintain a healthy weight. When I was a sophomore in high school I cut down 25 pounds to make a certain weight which was so unhealthy for me that i could not perform like i used too. I was to weak and fragile. Senior year I did not try to cut at all and wrestled at a weight I felt comfortable in and felt so great with my body that i ended up going to state that year. Society has to Change not just for the small people, but the big ones too because these things can lead to worst health problems and psychological effects.

    1. Jp, I noticed that same exact thing. That in the UFC the card girls all have a six pack, and if they don’t have a six pack they are slim and have a beautiful face. Even NFL cheerleaders, they all fit under that specific criteria or field that the media believes women should fall under. Which is just not right because if that was a career that they were interested in then they wouldn’t be able to pursue it unless they harmed themselves to be in that shape. Also, your personal example was perfect because it showed once you love yourself and take yourself for you, that that is when you succeed and prove everyone else wrong.

  61. Even though I am not a female I have seen how society impacts some women regarding their weight and size. I have cousins or even friends of mine who are never satisfied with how they look even though they look perfectly fine. It is because they look up to these models and actresses and see how their body is so they want to have the exact same because in their mind they believe that is the only way to be beautiful. They are trying all these remedies and products just so they can get that “hour glass figure” some of these celebrities with money may have, and I believe that is a good reason why some females develop eating disorders and stuff. They starve themselves just so they can look like someone that society portrays to be “beautiful”. All it is doing is just harming these females that believe they aren’t beautiful unless that have that “ideal body”.

  62. weight in the media fires me up. The message that everyone should be skinny gives little girls a bad message. Especially when in magazines they edit it, so that is not what they really look like in real life. Media doesn’t just set the norm for weight they set it for everything body issue wise.The perfect girl in the medias eyes is a female that is skinny has big breasts, Is a perfect shade of bronze with blonde hair. SO we are all supposed to look like a barbie doll to look attractive. The clothing is another thing most celebrities wear little to nothing and then little girls see them and think its ok to wear. Now barbie comes in work attire that is a short mini skirt. Sex sells but it is giving little kids the wrong idea. I’m not saying a women can’t look sexy or attractive its the media is making there own definition of what is supposed to be attractive just like their setting the weight goal of what weight is attractive. They’re brain washing men on what to look for and find attractive.

    1. I totally agree with what you said. The media is not giving the young girls today the right message. When the already beautiful models and actresses are doing photo shoots for magazines and they are photo shopping their pictures and erasing all their small blemishes and “flaws”. Makes the teenage girls feel even more insecure and make them feel unworthy and not good looking enough.

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