I don’t know of a woman in the United States that has not been on a diet/eating plan since puberty hit. It seems as soon as the boobs and curves come in, women begin a lifelong struggle with body acceptance and attaining an ideal body image.
Part of this struggle almost always goes hand in hand with the battle of the calories: women embark on xxx diets in their lifetime, with every new option or fad promising tempting results. If all of these are so effective, why do women continue to struggle?
Moreover, why is this just on women? In my observation women are the ones who feel the heat and judgement of society bearing down on them if they are too skinny/fat, dress too provocatively/conservatively, etc. more often than not you will find large, overweight men in Hollywood and in other industry sectors (even sports) get a free pass for their body type, yet women are constantly asked to tweak something about their appearance. You are more likely to see an attractive, thin woman paired up with a large, average man and this be the norm, but if the situation was reversed and it’s a large, average woman with an attractive, thin man, most people chalk it up to some kind of fetish. Funny how that works. Yet we see it in entertainment quite often, from cartoons (The Flintstones, The Simpsons, Family Guy) to sitcoms (King of Queens,) -it’s not uncommon for a fat woman to be deemed as unworthy of love, or if there is a fat friend, she is ALWAYS ON A DIET, or a klutz, or funny, or love-crazed.
There are unrealistic expectations placed on the modern woman (hell, I’ll say the modern human), and the unrealistic aesthetic we’re expected to maintain and sustain as soon as we’re teenagers only seems to have gotten worse with time. In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, you need to be photoshoot ready, if not, why are you sharing your outfit?
I started thinking about the pressures I personally feel sharing my story and wondering when the hell am I going to be done with this journey. I often wonder if I had started earlier in life ( like when I was born) I’d be in a different place. Below are a few questions/comments I imagine a regular woman must encounter/deal with, either from friends, family, and, more often than not, from herself.
- Why are you not eating vegetables?
- Why are you not going to the gym?
- Is that organic?
- Do you really need to eat that?
- Didn’t you eat already?
- Why haven’t you learned how to tame your hair?
- Oh wow! You look nice today.
- Don’t you know how to do your makeup?
- No, that top is not cute.
- Yes, everyone is going to look at you funny.
- Are you sure you’re doing EVERYTHING possible to lose weight? I saw you eating a bagel yesterday.
Why don’t we ask these questions instead?
- Oh wow! Where did you get that top?
- Do you have any more of what you’re eating? Looks delicious.
- Did you know you inspire me?
- When did you decide to become a badass?
- When did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
- Why did you start the blog?
- What motivates you?
- What do you hope to accomplish in life?
- Do you feel supported
- Do you have everything you need to lose weight/achieve success/get to your goals?
Sometimes it can feel like people are rooting for you to fail when all you want is for people to understand that you, too, are human. Do you know what it’s like wondering if for the rest of your life you’ll have to worry about what’s going in your mouth or if someone ( who isn’t even that healthy to begin with) is going to say a comment that will make you want to give up?
It’s all mental. We have to get to a place where we shut out the negative, and focus on our why. Why do you want this so bad? If you lose the weight, will you be happy? Or is it much deeper than that?
Let’s start asking the right questions, and maybe, just maybe, we can turn these questions into actionable solutions for those who need it the most.