I saw this image on Facebook today and it really started me thinking about body image. Well, I was kind of already thinking about it, really since weight loss, bariatric surgery, food, my own body image, etc are really all I seem to think about any more.
I look at this image, and I automatically start thinking, “Gee, they forgot a few descriptors for each of these women.” I mean, seriously, there are endless lists stereotypes to describe both of these women. All of us make judgements every day about the people we see.
For the woman on the left you could also add: Beautiful, Blonde, Air-head, Dumb, Tall, Pretty, Anorexic, Skinny, Popular, Slut.
For the woman on the right you could add: Fat, Chubby, Stupid, Ashamed, Loser, Un-loveable, Lonely.
I’m a woman. I’m a feminist. I’m overweight. I have poor self-image. And these are the thoughts that go through MY head when I see this image. I’m certainly not proud of myself for admitting this. Clearly, on a certain level, I have bought into negative stereotyping. I also recognize that these identification tags have more about how I see myself than how I view them. When I look at the woman on the right, I see her as a reflection of how I see myself. When I look at the woman on the left, I see everything I think I am not.
Can you imagine what someone who much more judgemental thinks?
I know nothing about either of these women. For all I know, this is a completely computer generated image. These women may not even exist. They could be models. They could be just average women making a point. But that does not matter. What matters is what we think about when we look at them.
Women judge themselves as much or more harshly than they judge other women. My questions then are when do we stop buying into the negativity and false stereotypes foisted on us by a judgemental society that thinks they have the right to own, judge, and define us? When do we own our bodies? When do we own our own self-image? When do we decide who we are?
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to start today.
I am smart. I am pretty. I am capable. I am attractive. I am independent. I am proud. I am happy. I am a woman. I am strong. I am likeable. I am loveable. I am healthy.
How about you?