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Finding the Medium: A Society with Weight Issues

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The sad thing is, beauty isn't defined by ourselves anymore. It's defined by the media. We constantly have images of what "beauty is" being shoved in our faces -- a tall woman, very slender, with unrealistic hair that seems to never go gray, and not a blemish on the face. Someone with an unnatural tan that somehow looks as though it were obtained through months surfing at the beach, but was really just an artificial spray of chemicals. This woman has beautiful eyes, probably blue or brown, with elongated, seductive eyelashes. She wears the latest fashions, though in reality the clothes these women wear are uber high end and unaffordable for most incomes. And yet, these women are the ones that stare at us from commercials, movies, billboards, reputable magazines and tabloid rags alike, and the internet.

Not all celebrities, models, and tabloid fodder look like this picture perfect image of woman, but there are a sure heck of a lot of them who do. There is positive movement -- or negative -- in our society; we have seen the creation of "plus-sized models" which appears good at first glance. Young girls aren't looking up to 5'7", 90 lb. models anymore, they see a far better representation of the American public. But, as a society, are we beginning to accept and adapt to this growing epidemic of obesity and rising weights? While we are finally beginning to accept these women for who they are and their beauty, do we want to move in the direction of having heavier women being looked up to as well? Should we strive for a more fit, more slender body or should we settle for our more natural (albeit chubbier) selves?

I recently, and quite innocently typed "woman" into google image search, looking only for a picture of a middle aged regular woman. Playboy covers stared back at me. I went to the grocery store with my mother where airbrushed celebrities adorned the flashy cover of People. Have you ever noticed that no larger ladies star as the catchy subjects of commercials, when in reality, that is a better representation of the American public. We don't all look like that!

So we seem to have an issue here in America -- the perfect medium is a hard thing to achieve. We have anorexic models staring at us from every facet of every advertisement or image generated by the media, yet simultaneously eat generous helpings of fast food. In Mississippi, 32% of the U.S. population is obese as of 2007. In Colorado, the "most fit" state, the numbers are still high at 19%. This is a growing epidemic!

So is beauty accepting who we are naturally? Is beauty being "fit"? Is beauty being comfortable in your own skin, no matter the size of it? Is beauty finding the middle ground between stick-skinny and robustness? To me, beauty is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and accepting myself. I will never look like the sassy models that pout their lips out and suck their tiny stomaches in as they walk down the runway, and I'm okay with that.



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Stringz14_|-) said...
Dec. 19, 2009 at 11:03 am:
I'm "at risk" for anorexia and am going through a stage similar to what the article is saying. This article has uplifted me in many ways!
 
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