Maybe it?s the fact that I don?t have to read the news for my political communication class anymore. Maybe it?s my lingering disenchantment with the results of the election. Maybe I am becoming a victim of the American materialistic machine, trading in my knowledge for shopping trips and apathy. I?m not happy with who I?ve become. So why have I become this way?Every time I come back to school, whether it?s from summer or winter vacation, I feel like I have to lose weight. I?m not sure why this happens either.
It could be because I am leaving the family and friend support systems that enable me to feel good about myself. The question should be, “Why do I not have a support system like that here at school?” And I am even one of those feminists who proclaim that we should subvert the ideal, and love our bodies as long as we are healthy and happy with ourselves: we should not think we have to look like the women and men in the magazines and on TV.
This battle is something that I?m sure I am not the only one facing. What am I doing to overcome this battle? Good question.
I?m still working on it. I tell myself every day that I don?t have to lose weight, that those women in the media are drastically thin and I don?t want to look like that. Of course it is psychological. I want to control what I eat, but why do I want to eat less? I was always a strong woman. Why I am not winning this battle is a mystery.
No matter if one is heterosexual or not, male or female or gender-queer, eating disorders can affect anyone. I know of a lesbian couple who has contests to see who can lose the most weight. Why is this happening in our society? I?ve always heard of a long time ago when being heavier was thought to be more beautiful, and a status of wealth and well-being. Today, being skinny is the status of managing your time, going to the gym, being in shape, managing what you eat, and looking attractive according to our society?s contemporary standards.
Just as problems with eating disorders abound, so do problems with obesity. The average weight of a supermodel has dropped, yet everywhere on the news we see stories about America?s battle with weight.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 81 percent of 10 year-old girls are afraid of being fat, 42 percent of first to third grade girls want to be skinnier, and most fashion models are thinner than 98 percent of American women.
Why are we trying to meet these impossible standards? Fashion models are not only born with a certain body type, but they also are pared down even more by the digital photography department before their photo even hits the magazine. We need to stop kidding ourselves.
The heavy are becoming heavier, and the skinny are becoming skinnier. Elsewhere in the world as well as America, the poor are becoming poorer, the malnourished more malnourished.
Is this a product of our high-technology, fast-paced, greedy, digital world? Do people just not care anymore? Along with our attention spans becoming shorter, I believe our caring for others is vanishing slowly also. Even though cell phones allow us to talk to people more, we aren?t having conversations we are just making noise with our lips. We are only losing touch with our families, and getting sucked into a media-driven vortex. I am not blaming any one aspect of the media or technology.
I don?t know who or what to blame. I?m sure the problems with the world are happening for a number of reasons. I am slowly realizing that these problems even affect me, in my quest to “find” myself. I realize that I am worried about my weight, but I try to remember that at the same time elsewhere in the world, someone is worried about their weight because they have not eaten in a few days. They are worried about whether or not the rest of their family is still alive. They are worried if they will have fresh water to drink, or if they will ever have a home again.
All people, especially Americans, need to take a deep breath, get over ourselves, stop worrying about our petty problems, and do something to help the world. Even if it?s just giving a few bucks to charity. Even though we each have our own problems that seem tantamount, someone else?s are worse. For goodness sake, be grateful for what you have.