By Kim-Vi Sweetman
Elm Staff Writer

Can we first all agree that America – and the world as a whole – has some serious issues with body image? It’s not just with girls all the time, either. Both sexes can be held to ridiculous standards in terms of weight, height, and overall general appearance. Most commonly, however, it is girls who are in the spotlight being treated for eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

A recent spotlight has been put on the insane eating (or rather, lack of eating) behaviors women will go through in order to look “perfect” for their wedding day. Of course, “perfect” can mean dropping anywhere from one to 20 pounds before the big day. Unfortunately, it seems that women are not trying to lose weight the healthy way, through a balanced diet and regular exercise. Instead, they tend to either starve themselves or join another, equally ridiculous diet.

A new favorite that last reared its ugly head in the 1950s has started making comebacks: using a nose tube to receive liquid nutrients. The diet directly pumps around 800 calories of liquid food per day down the esophagus and into the stomach. That’s only 800 calories in one day, when an adult would normally be eating closer to 3,000. The trick works, as brides-to-be become much slimmer, losing as much as 20 lbs in two weeks.

However, crash diets like this one don’t work well, and the weight usually comes back en masse (pun intended). Seriously ladies? I’ve heard that, “beauty is pain” and all that, but is it really worth starving yourself over?

If you want to change your weight for the better (and sometimes it’s not for the better, it’s just worse) why not change for life?

Every year, millions of Americans battle eating disorders and body image issues. The majority of the group is made up of females, but there is still a large number of males who also have eating disorders. Eating disorders don’t just mean anorexia and bulimia, either.

Obesity is also counted as a disorder. People are hospitalized, treated, and counseled, but not all make it. Plus, it takes a lot of time for people to heal from any eating disorder. Why do we do this to ourselves? And why do the fashion industry and the media bombard us with images of skinny people as the ideal? Why not love all healthy body types?

Another aspect that only exacerbates things is a certain part of the female anatomy: breasts. Breasts, boobs, cleavage, tits, and all the other delightful little names there are for them. They become the main focal point of the female anatomy, graded and judged at the same time as the person they’re attached to. We as a culture place value on larger breasts, but if someone is naturally “well-endowed” we automatically assume they’ve had plastic surgery. If they’re “too small” girls might feel lower self-esteem, and heaven forbid that a girl should enjoy her own cleavage. What a slut! Showing off?!

Then the underwear sold in stores – especially Victoria’s Secret – perpetuates an idea of what breasts should look like, how they should be sized, and most importantly how they should be measured. Once again, the industry as a whole reinforces ideas about what’s ideal and what’s acceptable.

Luckily, there are groups and blogs – Busty Girl Comics, the Itty Bitty Titty Committee – that reinforce positive ideas about the human body. Without encouraging stereotypes about what “requirements” constitute a particular characteristic, groups such as these encourage people to love themselves. This world will sure as hell try and convince you that you shouldn’t.

The Elm

2 thoughts on “Learn to Love Your Body and Love Yourself

  1. I’ve always appreciated public figures like Adele and others that have really succeeded despite not fitting the traditional expectation of famous women.

    By Zerona in South Jersey Aug 31,2012 @ 11:17 pm

  2. The problem is that in some cases plastic surgery is actually necessary but apart from that we have a growing and unnecessary need to conform to what the media tells us is pretty/ perfect.

    By Facial surgery in Columbia Dec 07,2012 @ 12:39 am

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