Body image and the media

As part of the August Healthy Living/Fitness Blogger Writing Challenge, this is the ninth post in a month long series of posts.

Today’s topic is body image and the media.  As long as I can remember it’s been an issue for women, especially women who are overweight or curvy or naturally thin.  The media portrays women as being thin and perfect, with shiny hair and flawless makeup.  It’s almost impossible to achieve such a look, as an average everyday citizen.

It’s been an issue for me, as for most of my life I’ve been overweight.  I was bullied through school because I didn’t look the same as everyone else, and I definately let my perception of my body image influence what I did, or rather what I didn’t do.

I didn’t try sports once I was old enough to make that decision as I had no idea how to go about it.

I didn’t participate in music or drama because I was afraid I’d be ridiculed or bullied because I wasn’t thin and wouldn’t fit in.

Writing this, I still think and act this way, even now at nearly 37.

The only time it was different for me, was when I was thinner.  When I was thinner, boys paid attention to me; paid me complements, looked at me, smiled at me.  No longer was I mooed at from cars, or laughed or stared at.

When I was thinner, I got a promotion at work.  My boss praised my accomplishments at work and for working out and becoming an inspiration.

When I was thinner, my extended family actually acknowledged my existence.  I was spoken to.  I was noticed.  I wasn’t left on the sidelines.

I’ve long since wondered since I’ve gained back all the weight and have had to look for jobs, if that is part of the reason I haven’t been hired.  I know it most likely isn’t, but after literally hundreds of applications sent out for teaching positions for years and years and no offers, it has made me wonder if my weight/appearance have been a factor.

And it shouldn’t be.  It shouldn’t be for anyone.

Until the media portrays women like regular women are, I think that the issues I’ve faced in my life will be passed on to the next generation.  I see it in blogs I come across.  In fact I happened across one last night where an 18 year old who weighed about 180 pounds had gastric band surgery to lose 20 pounds  so she could look better.  I couldn’t even process that.  Right now I’d love to be 180 pounds.

I honestly hope that most people do not think that is a realistic or feasible way to lose weight.  I honestly hope that the media can find real role models, like Olympic athletes to pay accolades to, instead of the fashion model of the week.

And I hope that we as a society can all learn from our mistakes.

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