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About Bodies. What is wrong with them?

November 5, 2009

This week the Australian world has been twittering about the governments proposed national strategy on body image.  The proposals  goal “to increase the positive thoughts and feelings that individuals have towards their own body as a means of improving their wellbeing.”  is so needed according to psychologists.  But why don’t we like our bodies?

There are many reasons why those of us with perfectly normal bodies feel inadequate and while wishing for bigger this or smaller that isn’t a new phenomenon something has changed over the last twenty or so years.   The naughties world is fast paced, competitive and over sexed.   Family life is happening later,  jobs are changed more frequently and as 40 is the new 30 we need to look like we have it all under control.  Maintaining our youthful looks and our lithe bodies is no longer optional it is strategically important.

OK but why?

While it is true that the media does play a huge part in seeding our views on normality there is more to this issue than that.   Role models have existed since the beginning of humanity and these aspirational figures, so perfect and super human that us meer mortals would never dream of being able to emulate them have teased and inspired us in equal measure.  Cleopatra’s beauty was discussed far and wide but as very few people at that time had the means or the knowledge to dress like her, bathe like her or eat like her most people left it at that. Today all of that has changed.

Today we can eat the “Hollywood” diet, we can have a “Model” tan, we can wear rock star shoes and we can even have our own personal trainer.   It is all possible and therefore attainable and that adds to our problem. If we don’t look good now we are either lazy, sick or over the hill. I mean, why wouldn’t we want to jump on the “I’m a celebrity” bandwagon?

But that is still not it.  We need to look further, many of our more serious body issues stem from the mind and that is having an impact on our resilience.

How much can you take?

Impossibly perfect (and often fake) images 24/7 via mass media + Our knowledge that looking good is only a $100 cream, a $20 per day diet, delivered to you door and a $130 piece of plastic away + our “Me first” lifestyles  + Our “you too can own an investment property” addiction to easy money + Our 10 hour a day jobs  + Our global awareness = A  mind that’s fit to burst.

This is a big issue and 500 words won’t do it justice but some things are clear.  Thinner models do look better in magazines, make up for 5 year olds is only ever cute when they “borrow” yours for dress ups,  money can’t buy you love and nobody can have it all.

In this issue the mind matters and I for one hope that all stakeholders stop and think about life, beauty and the pursuit of happiness in the quest for dollars. You know it makes sense.

remember when beauty was fun

Another interesting take on events can be found on Glebe2037’s blog by clicking here.

You can also see how body image problems have influenced Robbie Williams, bless him!

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