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Change the way you see, not the way you look…

The Body Image Quiz, on page 226 of the text really resonated with me. I think that as women, we tend to see the flaws in ourselves before we can recognize the good; but why wouldn’t we? If we consider the media, the competition, and what we consider to be the “Norm” of body image and adaptation we’re destined for body dimorphic disorder.

When the survey asked 200 women what they would change about themselves, nobody answered that they wouldn’t change a thing. This is alarming, because we should be quick to jump to the fact that we are awesome, we are fine the way that we are, and that we should not try to fit ourselves into the mold of someone else’s outlandish standard of beauty.  Now, I am not exempt, because there are things that I would change about myself as well, but it just all really shows how we are taught to look at ourselves and each other. Would you change anything about yourself?

The fact that 95 percent of American Women overestimate their body size is astonishing. Nearly all of us seem to have it in our heads that we are much bigger than we actually are. I understand, sometimes it feels like the only mirrors that exist in the world are those from “fun” houses that stretch us wide, but if that is what we see in ourselves, other people will see the same. We should change the way we see, not the way we look. Let’s gaze into a standard mirror, or better yet, no mirror at all.

The fact that psychologists call sports teams, dance troupes, high schools, colleges, and commercial weight loss programs “Eating disorder breeding grounds” is rather terrifying. Sports can get competitive, but they should always carry a message of leadership and oneness. If everyone is respected equally and more attention is devoted to the comradely of the team rather than performance and appearance, then there would be healthier body images for people… even if the sports suffer a bit. Dance troupes are a given for eating disorders. I was not safe from that while I was dancing, and not many of the girls that I danced with were either. That’s not to say that all dance is bad and distorts a girl’s appearance of herself though. My dancing years were the best times of my life, and it really can be a healthy sport. I do feel like now, many more choreographers are concerned and aware of what may happen to a girl’s sense of self while training and performing. Many studios encourage a healthy routine and maintenance of your body, rather than an examined and judged piece of art.  Aren’t commercial weight loss programs supposed to be encouraging healthy eating and exercise routines? A diet should not be a trend, it should be an important part of life that one puts effort into. It doesn’t have to be diet as in deprivation and discipline, but rather that of nurturing your one and only body in this life; taking care of it from the inside out by honoring it with nutritious foods that your body needs.

5 million women in the United States suffer from some form of an eating disorder. What can we do to reduce that number? What steps could we take in the different institutions, to achieve a more positive self-image?

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