Having a healthy body image means that a person accepts the way they look without trying to change their body to fit what they think they should look like since society portrays “what we should look like and be” in order to be accepted. This attitude is very dangerous because the greater our discontent with how we measure up when compared to what society tells us we “should” look like, the more negative our body image, and the greater the risk for extreme behaviors.
When you are talking about weight and women, you cannot wage war on obesity without waging war on the people who live in those “obese” bodies. No one should be bullied for their weight or food choices, but ‘fat pride’ promotes dangerous weight levels. And while shopping at Target, yet once again, I came across a T-shirt that said, “Every Body Is Beautiful” – and I found myself saying, “No,” out loud. Empowering women of non-Barbie proportions to feel good about themselves, is one thing. But suggesting that being a size 30 is just as healthy as being a size 12 isn’t a body-positive message either – it’s an irresponsible lie. And what is worse is the fact that these women are being used in the industry to sell products, clothes, and food designed to “celebrate” their non-skinny bodies.
Think about this for a second: smoking is an addiction that many struggle to control, as is weight, but we don’t celebrate it with social media campaigns about smoking pride the same as they do with “fat pride.” While what you do with your own body is your own business, actively encouraging unhealthy lifestyle choices and denying health risks with being obese on social media isn’t promoting body positivity, it’s the stepping stones to having an eating disorder. This idea that you are “fat but fit” is just a social media campaign that promotes being unhealthy all for a good buck.
Now, as I don’t agree that every woman needs to be a size 2 to be accepted, I think the main focus of society shouldn’t be the outer shell we are in, but rather who we are as people. The saying is true, “Looks fade, but personality and who you are is forever.”
When it comes to weight and women, it really is a catch 22: damned if you are skinny, and damned if you overweight and then talk about it all. Why can’t we just be allowed to celebrate WHO we are, not WHAT we look like? Remember, we create a legacy for ourselves. Do you want to be remembered on how you looked, or on your character?
Do men get pinched, groped, ogled, catcalled, stared at, followed, intimidated and stalked regularly by other men?
Do they get rape threats from strangers online for having the gall to express a strong opinion?
How about unwanted comments on their profile pictures, unsolicited pictures of male genitalia, persistent romantic propositions even after rejection?
How about being talked over at work, admonished for standing one’s ground, assumed to be less skilled, being singled out among other colleagues for clerical tasks, told that their place is “in the kitchen” and “at home, raising kids?”
You are being asked to give women, the same bare-minimum, basic, fundamental respect that you afford men. You know, the sort that should be afforded to all human beings, simply for existing. We aren’t asking for amazing treatment, simply for being female. Far from it, actually. We’re asking for respect as people, something we are deprived of simply for being women with a regularity, severity and degree that should absolutely alarm you.
Respecting women can’t be a rule, but surely it can be a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Women are tired of having to be taught how to protect themselves from men, but rather why can’t the men be taught not to rape, harass, or abuse a woman? Dress does not dictate if a woman is valued or respected. Nor does it protect her from being violated. But I am, as are all women tired of hearing guys ask, “well, what was she wearing?” Or, “She was probably asking for it.” No. No woman is ever asking to be raped, harassed or abused. No woman wants to be judged based on what she was wearing, how she was wearing it, and just how much attention she was craving.
It’s about time society started appreciating the important role that women play. Women today contribute more than half to the world’s economy. More than 11.6 million businesses are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales as of 2017. Women-owned businesses (51% or more) account for 39% of all privately held businesses and contribute 8% of employment and 4.2% of revenues.
We just aren’t about having babies, raising babies, and baking some cookies. Women are smart, savvy, and go-getters. Women want to be seen for WHO we are, NOT for what we look like. Ever notice that a man especially, can only compliment a woman on her looks, not on her other personality traits? “Oh, she is hot,” “She’s gorgeous,” or, “What a beauty!” It’s never, ” You’re amazing at what you do,” “I always learn so much from you,” or, “I like your style.”
If we want to prevent sexual assaults and sexual harassment, then parents have a responsibility to their sons to have a much more uncomfortable conversation. Overall, the media has told a man, in this society, treating women with disrespect is the cool or easy thing to do. The only way to change this, is to make sure that as boys, they know that this behavior is unacceptable, and that no matter who they come in contact with during their lifetime, they are to be treated with respect. Remember, it costs NOTHING to be kind, to be respectable and to be responsible.