I wonder if there is a concern about this equality in body image campaign, that it’s effectively giving permission for us to be overweight, to stop making the effort to be healthier. That we might all become less healthy in the process.
In one way, it is. We all should be empowered to do exactly what we want regarding our bodies. That’s healthy… mentally and physically.
If that’s not wanting to give up our health and fitness goals, then we really shouldn’t give up our health and fitness goals.
How I found my way own here is from a total mind-glitch about health. I was 33, a young Mum with a bright future ahead of me and I got an aggressive cancer – five tumours, in my boob. I was slim, I juiced, I exercised. I was dying.
For me, everything changed. Obesity is a huge risk factor for breast cancer, so losing weight is a really good idea… for your health (it’s also nobody else’s business). But thin people aren’t statistically healthier than others. Arguably some models are very unhealthy – so the conjecture that the current ideal is healthy – the healthiest even – is wrong.
My diagnosis made me think about my body totally differently. I pirate-shipped from cursing it, to suddenly nurturing it. I was about to lose it! At the very least parts of it; and trust me, I have grieved hard for those spaniels ears!
So now my mind works in a really different way. I sometimes look in the mirror and get a nice surprise that I look kinda neat around the food processor and not too shabby on the old sitting pillows because now, I literally don’t give it a second thought. I think about how to live a long and happy life. That’s what informs my choices. That’s the reality of our bodies. We know that right? No, we don’t. Appearance has come to stand for everything. Most people want to lose weight because of the way they look.
Take my fiancé, (I add this with his permission) I won the husband lottery but my crazy-handsome man is losing weight for our wedding. Now he is not necessarily my target market – the demographic of society I imagine would really benefit from a societal BodEquality shift. However the mythological power of the media has made its way into his psyche and he cares, not that he’ll get heart disease or have a stroke, but that he’ll look good in our wedding pictures. And he lives with me; you can imagine I’m not exactly a mute button on this subject. And yet still…
What I mean to say is, I know he’s not the odd-one out. We’re all so brain-washed on this subject, but I can’t say it’s right. It isn’t. I respect his choices and where they come from. Society could be giving us a healthier message.
And we could be looking at health… in a healthier way. From a place based on how our bodies move and feel and what we want our futures to look like. If a thin model, actress, singer, friend creates a feeling in us that motivates us to want to lose weight, maybe that’s a health goal that’s not so healthy. In fact maybe that’s not a health goal at all? Maybe it’s an image goal, and a very different thing…