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renata
6th March 2011, 18:52
I read with dismay Tamika's very revealing and important recent post (http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2087#post5971) the other day, about how one of her school peers was brainwashed into idolizing the anorexic appearance of emaciated fashion models. It's disturbing to hear a first-hand account of a young woman seeing such ill-looking, corpse-like models and wanting to emulate them.

Fortunately, however, I'm also seeing evidence that some girls in high school and college are rejecting the media's toxic standards.

Here's a remarkably perceptive article written by a high-school student for her school newspaper.

http://my.hsj.org/Schools/Newspaper/tabid/100/view/frontpage/articleid/419819/newspaperid/1722/Body_Image_Can_Take_a_Toll_on_Teen_Girls.aspx

She makes some very important points, and I hope that her peers read her article. She questions her fellow students if they actually need to starve and torture themselves, as they've been led to believe. She also commendably recognizes the promotion of a malnourished appearance as nothing but a racket that's designed to sell women products by making them resent their naturally full-figured appearance:

The dieting industry alone generates 40 billion dollars per year in America. You will be shocked to learn that 86% of teenage girls in 2000 are either on a diet of believe that they should be. Imagine this statistic now, 10 years later, with girls who have been exposed to images of unhealthy looking women more often, and for longer. It’s not just the teenagers, its the pre-teens as well.

What these girls don’t realise is that being extremely thin is not what makes them beautiful, but it’s what sells products to the companies in this market.
And in an example of journalistic maturity, she asks and answers the question of whether these poisonous media images really do ruin body image. First, she cites the example of the Fijian culture, which was free of eating disorders until the Western media was introduced:

The Fijian culture has always been that curvaceous women were beautiful, but after westernized television programs were introduced we begin to see this reoccurring connection between the media and eating disorders. Three years later, the eating disorders in girls on the island rose to 15%. A surprising follow-up study reported 74% of Fijian girls feeling "too f** or big" and 62% had dieted in the last month
Better still, the young reporter did some investigation of her own and surveyed her peer group:

I surveyed a range of teenage girls from 16-18 years old. I asked them, "Have you ever felt to of had low self esteem brought on by the media?" 9 out of 10 surveyed said yes.
It's remarkable to see such clear thinking in a high-school-age girl.


Similarly, here's an article on the same topic for a college newspaper

http://northernstar.info/opinion/columnists/article_3f429ed2-3fc3-11e0-883b-0017a4a78c22.html

This writer also takes pains to prove that media images do ruin girls' body image. Neither she, nor the high-school reporter, simply take these things as self-evident, but they go the extra mile to back up the truth of their assertions, lending their work credibility.

Before you argue that the ads in the magazines with these skinny, "beautiful" women do not really affect girls, look at the statistics.

According to a 2008 article on HealthyPlace.com, "Sixty-nine percent of girls said that magazine models influence their idea of the perfect body shape, and the pervasive acceptance of this unrealistic body type creates an impractical standard for the majority of women."
Here's a point in the article that I really liked. The writer debunks the idea that emaciated models are effective at selling fashion, pointing out that, if anything, such cadaverous images push women to spend their money on things other than clothing. This is why the plus-size industry should always use truly full-figured models, not the faux-plus variety:

The average woman in America is not a size 0, so why do advertisers cover their pages with them?

Models are supposed to show off the products in a way that makes the public want to buy them. Today's advertisements make it more likely for women to invest in diet pills and exercise equipment rather than blue jeans and swimsuits.
Refreshingly, for a girl in a college setting, where feminist indoctrination is rampant, the writer doesn't blame some nonexistent "patriarchy" but instead acknowledges that normal men prefer plus-size female bodies.

The worst part is that many women do not realize that most men actually prefer more curves on a woman.

"In my opinion, girls with curves are much more attractive," said Alex Madl, freshman pre-physical therapy major.
I like the conclusion of the article, with the reporter's firm resolve that the media needs to be changed (not merely that it should change itself, because it never will), as well as the reference to "true beauty," indicating that whatever the fashion industry is pushing today is definitely not truly beautiful.

It is hard to love our average-sized bodies when we have ridiculously skinny women as our models for beauty in every magazine, newspaper and billboard.

The reality is that women are being influenced by these ads, even if you do not think they are. Media is distorting society's conception of true beauty and it needs to be readjusted.
On the one hand, the fashion industry and the media are more pernicious than ever, and push a standard of appearance that is even more repulsively androgynous and emaciated than ever before. But on the other hand, some girls are recognizing how destructive a force it is and how much damage it has done, and are calling for its reform.

Let's hope that the latter impulse triumphs. If girls at the high school and college age could learn to love their naturally full figures and to eat whatever they like, then this positive self-esteem could sustain them their whole lives and leave them impervious to pro-anorexia propaganda.

Meredith
14th March 2011, 19:53
Continuing this theme, here's a brand-new article from a college newspaper in Wales that makes some very compelling points.

http://www.gairrhydd.com/comment/opinion/946/why-you-re-paying-to-feel-terrible

Among them:

I always saw glossy magazines as a bit of harmless fun. But lately, the more I read, the more wary I become.

The main focus in a fashion magazine? Self-image. We are constantly being told how to improve, how to look our best and how to achieve the elusive state of self confidence. Something I was reading today on Cosmopolitan.com entitled “Feel Sexier Naked” claimed that body insecurities stemmed from friends, parents, and improbable expectations of beauty, stemming from media pressure. The item was surrounded by pictures of women – not just women, but models:...thin and airbrushed to "perfection". Doesn’t this seem hypocritical?
Bingo. This is the problem with body-confidence stories in mainstream magazines. They deliver pernicious mixed messages by coupling self-esteem slogans with images of artificial-looking, half-starved bodies. It's a sly way of repackaging a diet ad, basically. Good to see this student seeing through the deception.

But bad as that mixed message is, the following frequently-seen phenomenon in fashion magazines is even worse:

Particularly worrying is the “Best and Worst Bikini Bodies” section, often featured in a summer edition of a magazine. Here, the thinnest, most toned and tanned bodies [ugh!] are idolised and those who show some small natural "imperfections", such as cellulite...are treated to schoolyard-style name calling, the offending areas circled in neon colours and labelled as “gross!”
This is sickeningly offensive. "Toned and tanned" bodies look like leather stretched over plastic -- the very opposite of attractive; it's repellent. On the other hand, dimpled flesh is soft and natural and beautiful. No wonder these magazines have to brainwash people with weaselly anti-plus commentary; they know that if the readers were to judge the photos for themselves, they'd find the fuller, plumper bodies more beautiful, and the over-exercised gaunt frames to be ugly.

Like the previous student writers, this reporter identifies the money-grubbing motive behind all this:

Fashion magazines run on insecurity. Huge amounts of money come from their sponsors, whose adverts take up large proportions of the magazine...This lack of ethics and values leaves me feeling confused.
No confusion. We once had a society based on ethics and values. We had such a culture for thousands of years, since the time of the Greeks. But a century of cultural Marxism coupled with globalist profiteering has eradicated the traditional, noble, aristocratic values of the West and left in their place the principles of crass commerce.

Best of all, the author even criticizes the use of faux-plus models as self-defeating tokenism. It's encouraging to see this line of criticism moving beyond insider industry discussions and penetrating the mainstream:

Glamour magazine made an effort in 2009 to include more “plus-size models” in its pages, but these models were not really all that large. Crystal Renn, for example, is only a [British] size 12; the average dress size for women in the UK is [a British] 16. Why must such a fanfare be made over this small achievement? Average size women featured in magazines should be a common thing, but at the moment editors feel the need to point out any slightly curvy model to the reader, and give themselves a pat on the back.

The fashion industry makes it difficult for magazines to use larger models, as all of their sample clothes come in small sizes. Since we are exposed to thin women in magazines, we perceive this as "beautiful".
But of course, images of cadaverous models are not beautiful; they are grotesque, and as other recent articles posted on the forum have indicated, women may finally be waking up to this deception, this anti-female agenda being conducted by the degenerates who run the fashion industry.

It's encouraging to see such insight from student writers. May these young people go on to make the points even more firmly in the future, and compel this toxic industry to finally reform.

Pamela
8th April 2011, 16:27
The idea of having students expressing size-positive sentiments is admirable. The National Eating Disorder Awareness organization likely had that very thought in mind when it recently organized a contest for girls to create public-service announcements regarding eating disorders.

http://www.openpr.com/news/168775/National-Eating-Disorders-Association-Announces-PSA-Contest-Winners.html

This was the concept:

Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, “The idea behind the PSA competition was to give entrants a voice and ask them to create a PSA – focused on a positive, thought-provoking, creative message – asking, ‘How would you talk about it?’
Intriguingly, Whitney was one of the members of the judging panel:

Winners were selected by a NEDA Celebrity Media Judges Panel, including...Whitney Thompson, the first plus-sized winner of America’s Next Top Model
The press release includes the URLs of the various entries. To me, the most interesting is the Second Prize Winner: “Self-Esteem: Breaking the Status Quo,” by Paula Cruz. It's quite impressive, coming from an 18-year-old girl.

Cruz, 18, Bellevue, Wash., says what you see in her winning PSA is what she sees everyday—friends putting themselves down, criticizing every flaw. Self-loathing has become the norm and Paula wants to do her part to get people to change their attitudes to positive ones and see the real beauty in each of them.
The video begins with an idea that I know the Judgment of Paris has always been fond of: the "alternative reality" in which plus-size beauty is celebrated and appreciated. In this better world, the girls in the video state that they love their hips, love their arms, etc. But then the video switches to "our" reality, and shows the girls disparaging their bodies, as girls (sadly) often do, basically comparing nonexistent flaws, including a supposedly too-curvy waist.

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The video poses the important question:

Why do we live in a culture where this [i.e., curve appreciation] seems strange, yet this [body disparagement] seems so normal?
Part of the reason, of course, is that the media fosters the negative discourse of the second part of the video, not the positive discourse of the first.

In my opinion, that's one of the reasons why the praise that the Judgment of Paris lavishes on curvy bodies is so important, and is more than just physical appreciation. It creates the conditions wherein women CAN think of themselves as the girls in the first part of the video do, where they admire their plus-size bodies and see themselves as gorgeous, not flawed or unattractive for being naturally full-figured.

Shelley
27th May 2011, 13:01
One thing that I love about reading students' voices on these topics is that they often have a freshness and energy that more mature voices lack.

This recent article from The Corsair, the student newspaper of Santa Monica College, is a great example.

http://www.thecorsaironline.com/opinion/hollywood-affect-female-insecurities-1.2209169

It begins with the author recognizing that the cult of emaciation is a relatively recent aberration. This kind of historical perspective is always beneficial, as it dislodges the underweight standard from a position of inevitability and exposes it for what it is: an arbitrary, unnatural fixation.

Skinny used to be the opposite of f**, remember? It didn't used to be a compliment; it was a descriptive word for people who were noticeably below average weight. But ever since "heroin chic" graced runways in the ‘90s, there's been a dramatic shift in cultural perceptions of the ideal female body type.
The author identifies the sheer insanity of self-imposed starvation:

Receiving evil death stares from chicks that choose to starve themselves when you indulge in that brownie that's screaming the name of every woman in the room is unfair and frustrating. You shouldn't feel embarrassed for being the only girl around sane enough to eat what you want.
She encourages men to be vocal in their preference for girls with a fuller figure - and I enjoy the zeal with which she denounces the waifs:

some extra compliments and reassure her that you'd never want to date that pole-thin girl who probably does drugs and smokes cigarettes to maintain her figure.
It ends on a disappointing mixed message, but hopefully the author will grow out of that bit of brainwashing by the media. Other than that, it's a welcome piece.

Kaitlynn
11th October 2011, 13:54
From the college newspaper of Sonoma State University comes a delightfully empowering article that I'd love to share.

http://www.sonomastatestar.com/opinion/skinny-does-not-mean-sexy-1.2639976#.TpR-VLKVqT9

The title, "Skinny does not mean sexy," gets things off to a good start, and it only gets better from there. Here are a few choice excerpts.

The writer begins by pointing out how ridiculous the measure of being "over"weight is:

Skinny does not mean sexy

It didn't help when my local pediatrician told me I was bordering ob*****. Are you kidding me? No wonder our obesity rate is so damn high! They count everyone that hasn't been on the cover of Elle magazine.
Exactly. If the measure of what's an acceptable size is the fashion industry's anorexic standard, then that's an unacceptable standard indeed.

Here the writer describes her moment of liberation:

Then it dawned on me. Why does it matter what I look like if I'm happy? What if I like the way my butt looks and the way my boobs bounce when I strut my stuff? I have the body of a real woman and I have never been more proud of it. My question is, why do girls constantly stress about being as skinny as possible even if it's unhealthy? It's not cute when you're ribs are showing through your back. Is it because they want to fit into the smallest dress size possible or they want that one "special" guy to like them? Just an FYI ladies: they make clothes in five sizes. It's not embarrassing to buy a large.

And you know, let me tell you! Only immature boys narrow their girlfriend qualifications to the super skinny girls...Men would rather take you out to dinner and pay for a steak than watch you eat a piece of lettuce.
Yes! I'm glad that she points out that men are actually attracted to women who indulge themselves freely. It's true, but you would never know it from the curve-o-phobic mass media and its distortions of reality.

Likewise, her comments to men about curvy women who love to eat are well worth taking to heart:

Here's some advice for you men: If she'll order chicken wings and chow down on the first date, then you've found yourself a winner...she's already clearly said something about herself
So true. A woman who lets herself eat whatever she wants with a man feels comfortable about herself and secure with him. It's a recipe for mutual satisfaction.

The last passage is pure size celebration; one of the most affirmative texts I've read.

This issue of weight, mainly sparked by the media, is really nothing more than what we make it to be. If you choose to follow the latest stick-thin trend, at least make sure you are truly happy with your lifestyle. I can tell you that I am only happy when I get to eat my three helpings of dinner every night. We are no longer girls, we are women. We are meant to have big boobs followed by some hips and a bump in the back.

I would not change my hourglass figure for anything. It makes me who I am and is a constant reminder that I've got a little something extra to share.

I've learned ways to dress for my body type and have found clothes that only make me feel better about those "where did you come from" lines, or the extra lump added to my really wide hips. I buy the clothes that fit me, regardless of the size, and I have never been happier!

Women of Sonoma State, strut your stuff! The guys will appreciate your confidence as much as your body.
Kudos to the writer for her unapologetically pro-curvy text. I hope that every student at her university reads her article and takes her words to heart.