When we lose twenty pounds… we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty. ~Woody Allen
Oh, yes. I bet you were wondering when I would reach this topic and I have to say, yep, it’s pretty early into my blogging but what can you do?
Now, whether you are a skinny teenager or a forty-year-old successful businesswoman, or anybody in the First World (because we seem to be more obsessed with this than the other, like, ninety per cent of the world which is on the brink of starvation – funnily enough), you have, are, or will think about being too fat once in a while. Human beings, especially bored ones (and that’s one of my theories – dieting stems from boredom), tend to engage in obsessive behaviors and latch onto the “outside news” as a source for inspiration – I’m talking, of course, about the numerous celebrity interviews, fitness magazines, and Internet blogs that have all at some point touched on the subject of “slimming down.”
While obesity is a growing epidemic in some countries (I’m looking at you, America), over the past few years there has been a pandemic of a new kind of disease – call it what you want, skinniness, shaping up, slimming down, getting “fit,” all of which ultimately have two outcomes: a) failure and regression to the previous weight (which the proprietor or their doctor might or might not consider unhealthy) or b) success and further submersion into the vast world of what we now call “health.”
Beauty. Now, what is beautiful exactly? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives the following definition:
the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit :loveliness.
You might think, psssh
, come on, nobody defines beauty this way nowadays – and herein lies the problem. In our overly-materialistic world, in which we have learned to trust our eyes more than our feelings, we define bea
uty as strictly physical attractiveness. Then again, that which may be physically attractive to one might repulse the other. Examples of this include various practices from all over the world,
and that is okay, or should be okay, anyway, as we are constantly pushed to “celebrate diversity.”
Nevertheless, we explore the world of other beauty
as I like to call it when we dig deeper, mostly through travel websites and hidden pro-natural pages. When I Googled beauty
, though, the first picture that came up was one that disturbed me greatly, not only because it looked so completely and utterly… artificial, but also because I realized that I have applied the schema of beauty from this picture to myself and those around me my whole life.
Take a look at this photo. No, seriously, take a long, hard look at it. Your first thought might be, oh, she’s pretty, but how much of this is real? How much of this has not been created by power-hungry beauty firms that want their produce advertised on the pages of the magazine she was shot for? Shot. Now that’s a good word.
Even though we blame these women, these models for bringing about our own insecurities, we really have to think about the impact on them as well. They are the primary example of falling victim to their own game – by pushing forward these rigid standards, they are, by themselves, drawn into a whole whirlwind of complexes, diets, shaping up exercises, and, sadly enough, eating disorders.
While the world has been relaxing for the most part lately, I still feel like we don’t give ourselves enough room to breathe. While a girl might come to university looking like shit (again, who said that?), she will still dress up for her sister’s wedding or something – and that’s human nature. Just like any animal out there, we like to show off, maybe even driven by some primeval instinct to impress mates but in the end it doesn’t matter that much. We do this to ourselves. While there may be salvation from this yet, in the form of worldwide blindness, and possibly hypnotic sessions, we have nowhere to go from here at this point in time. The point is, if something we innately believe to be true has been installed into our minds by someone else, does it still make it true? Is belief in a certain truth the same as knowledge of said truth? And how many truths are there?
You can tell I’m taking philosophy this semester.
Health. Now this is where you might think there is no argument here. Yeah, you have to be healthy. But what is health, then? Just like Beauty, a universal Health does not exist, even though fitness websites and fashion magazines seem to insist on a certain template: skinny, rock-hard abs, perfect ass… The list goes on and on and before long the definition of Health morphs into this society’s definition of Beauty. Since when are the two so closely knit together?
Now, let’s go back to good ol’ Merriam-Webster for this:
the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; especially:
freedom from physical disease or pain.
Does this say anything about a flat belly or steel pecks? Um, let me get a closer look… Erm, nope, sorry. Sound in body, mind, or spirit. Which means you just have to feel good about who you are inside your body and soul, if you believe in things like these. You just have to feel good. Not look good.
Society, you need to re-evaluate your priorities.
Because you are mixing the two up.
A healthy person eats the amount of calories they want to a day, an amount of calories that makes them feel good.
A healthy person does not stress over missing a daily workout and proceed to go on a self-destructive streak.
A healthy person is confident in where and who they are.
A healthy person doesn’t have to be beautiful.
But they already are.