Here is what a real-life Barbie and GI Joe headline would look like: Barbie Hospitalized and GI Joe on Illegal Steroids
For women, the pressure to achieve the ideal female body image is powerful. All around, the media shows images of hyper-slim, either tall or petite, large-busted females. We are shown that the ideal is to be thin, above all else.
A lot of us spend so much time consuming media from all directions. Print, online, video, audio. It bombards us.
Let’s Talk About Barbie
The iconic symbol of this idea is Barbie. If Barbie was life-sized, she’d be at 76% of her healthy body weight which would require acute, serious hospitalization. Certainly not the ideal female body image when it’s put into perspective, right? Yet, many women are seeking to achieve that level of thinness. A healthy woman does not look like that.
And What About G.I. Joe?
For men, the media promotes a hyper muscular, low body fat, hairless visage.
The iconic image for that body type is G.I. Joe Extreme (the big modern G.I. Joe). If G.I. Joe existed at full-size his biceps would be almost as big as his waist and bigger than most competitive bodybuilder’s biceps. That hyper-masculinity focuses on the exaggeration of the male physiology. The six-pack abdominal muscles and highly defined musculature being promoted to men in the abdominal region is only achievable by very few genetically predisposed to it. For most men, this physique is impossible to achieve without illegal steroids.
On a daily basis, the media shows us that these types of bodies are normal, attainable, and desirable. Many are trying to achieve the impossible by eating less and exercising more. Sometimes, we feel worse and worse because we can’t succeed in looking like the ideal “normal.” But it’s not normal.
What if we can step out of the carousel of an unhealthy body image? What if we could step into self-love. It’s important that we acknowledge the role the media has in shaping our thought processes, our emotions, and our choices. And then let’s bust that system, and instead, choose health and happiness. Let’s choose joy in our lives and love ourselves for who we are. We are beautiful because we are innately at a healthy weight and living a happy life.
Let’s Be The Change
We do not celebrate the diversity and beauty of different body types enough. Surveys have shown that people associate being thin and or muscular with being successful, beautiful, strong, hard-working, popular, and disciplined. The term “fat” is associated with being weak, ignorant, and lazy. This is literally a prejudice. This is literally negatively judging people by how they look – the definition of prejudice.
We have accepted in our culture that the color of our skin doesn’t mean anything about our character. Our culture has accepted that gender doesn’t mean anything negative about our character. We acknowledge that these people of different color and different gender are equal to us. Yet, it is way too common in educated, thoughtful, discourse among professional adults to hear the word “fat” tossed around in a derogatory manner. It’s not funny to make fat jokes. Just like other types of racial prejudice, it’s uneducated and ignorant. How unacceptable is it to make off-color jokes about race? That is how offensive joking about people’s bodies is. To hear people termed less-than because of their size is erroneous and unfortunate.
Frankly, we should all be angry at this prejudice and working to change it just like we did with gender and racial prejudice and, now, how we also are with sexual orientation discrimination. Let’s work together to end fat chat forever!
Become conscious of how you speak about people’s physical appearance. Judging people positively or negatively based upon their appearance is discriminatory. Consider being aware of any ways that you perpetuate stereotypes and endeavor to change them. Just like with anything else, you can be the change. Let’s not let this “Barbie Hospitalized and GI Joe on Illegal Steroids” headline be a reality in our culture.