Friday, February 13, 2009

Couldn't pay me to do it again!

So in talking about Advertising this week, my mind kept wandering back to my high school days. We have been talking so much about body image, and back then thoughts about my weight literally consumed every day of my life. Today, I weigh about 112 lbs and I'm 5'1. The heaviest I have ever been was in high school my sophomore year at 136 lbs, and was around 4'11 until I was about 17 (the fact that I remember that so distinctly should tell you something). It may not sound like much to you, but on a smaller frame that weight had less places to go.

Every day I woke up wishing I were someone else because I didn't want to be "fat." The weird thing is, I was active. I was a competitive ballroom dancer since I was 9 and was even a cheerleader. Although, I think that made things worse for me. All I saw around me were these little tiny girls getting thrown in the air, and chicks in these fabulous dresses with even more fabulous frames to display them. I felt so out of place and thought, "If only I were skinny like them I could be happy."

It has just made me think that although all the friends I had had these "perfect" bodies, there were influences from the media dismorphing my body image as well. I remember watching The Real World even back then and thinking I could never be on that show because they only cast girls who looked hot in bikinis. I looked disgusting in one. I would never get boys to like me because I didn't look like my sister who was tan, blond, 5'7, and 98 lbs with a C cup.

What I've realized since then is that not being them, not being this perfect stereotypical cheerleader, I had to rely on other things. I had to rely on being smart, making people laugh, being witty, and using my personality to get recognized as opposed to my boobs. It's made me a much better person than I ever would have been had I been than barbie girl.

I guess ultimately I want to teach my children that beauty is so ambiguous. YOU are PERFECT EXACTLY the way you are. It doesn't matter what size your jeans are.... you still matter. You still can make a difference and you can be important even if the scale tips a little bit. It is so hard in our society to believe that because we are getting sent SO many messages which most of us will never live up to. But, that doesn't mean we should let it get the best of us. All we can do is be a part of the change.

This is my Junior year. I'm the one on the front left. I have tiny legs, but there is a reason I'm bending over. I'm also wearing a body slimmer underneath my uniform ( I don't think I've ever told anyone that!)


  1. Hey B -

    I totally agree!

    Advertisers want you to look a certain thank you. I do admit I like certain products...I never really went for people sizing me up (no pun intended) so I feel the same way when you talk about high school.

    I too always felt like the odd person out ever since I hit puberty I had gained weight. It's kind of peaked now and thanks to all the medication I'm on usually I'm not all that interested in eating. But I have to say when I watch Project Runway or yes, even 24 I feel like I need to look like Kiefer. Don't get me wrong I know loosing weight is good but to get to that "Barbie" girl image?

    I remember watching this one episode of intervention about a girl who was raped and for a while could not eat solid foods. Doctors put in a feeding tube but deemed it only "temporary." She kept it though because it kept her weight down and made her look better...however if you look like a corpse that has been in a casket in the ground for a few years I don't know how you would deem that attractive.

  2. Doesn't it suck how advertisements create a mold that we end of feeling like we have to fill? Kinda sucks a big one. I have a theory that everyone feels like they are the odd person- the one that doesn't fit. In every move ever made, there is always that 1 person that is the odd one. As I got older, I began to wonder if it really mattered. So what is my conclusion? It doesn't matter. Just a waist of time.

  3. Good form!

    In high school I was 255lbs & played football...ha & I wasnt ripped...In fact it wasn't until I was out of high school where I was fed up...

    I ended up dropping to 188 in a year...

    The reason why I did what I did was because of the people and the advertisments influenced me to become someone I wasnt...

    In that year, I was pyshically better, but emotionally was someone else...

    I ended up becoming someone I regreted, cocky & shallow...

    Almost 8 years later...I look back at the person I was and chuckle...I'll admit I was a douche!

  4. My whole post this week was about body image and advertising. You hit the nail on the head with this one. Whether we like it or not the media affects all of us. It influences the way we think, the way we dress, and the way we feel about ourselves. It's a shame that an average size girl feels bad about herself because she doesn't look exactly like the underweight model on the magazine she's reading. It makes no logical sense. I wish we could focus more on health instead of weight. Let's do it!!

  5. I was never a skinny little fact, my grandma called me the "well-fed one" between me and one of my cousins! My own grandma! Even at a young age I was concerned and self-conscious about my weight; even though I wasn't "fat" I'd see my friends and actresses on TV and wish my body was different. I just recently learned that my mom had an eating disorder for a while when she was young, and I'm so grateful that I never got to the point when I felt like that was an option. It's hard to be ok with your body and how you look when so many different things are being thrown at you through advertisements and other media.