Different faces of body image

Posted on Nov 4 2013 - 7:54pm by Guest Writer

By Alyssa fountain, Guest Columnist

 

Winnie the Pooh has something in common with the real world.
Our friends are all different shapes, sizes and colors. Meanwhile we all want to be a little more this way or a little more that way, and so we go to our thinking spots, which is where a lot of the danger happens.
All around the world, people seek to change their body in various ways, sometimes going to extreme lengths.
It’s not just the U.S. When I was in Uganda, there were advertisements everywhere for creams to gain bigger butts and hips. Everyone wants to be heavier, leading to the common compliment: “you are so fat.”
In the U.S. though, we strive to be our smallest. Stuff and fluff is not okay, and we have to hope our stitching doesn’t pop.
We desire to lose as much weight as possible, leading some  people to skip meals or make themselves throw up to lose weight.
We fear the things that people say behind our backs. What is even worse is that sometimes people do say horrible things. “She was so fat, it was like, eww” is something I heard the other day.
Women often turn to the extremes offered on the TV: diet supplements, lipo suction and a world of hunger and pain.
As I said, body image issues are worldwide issues. It affects men as well as women. Men are pressured to be larger than women with sculpted muscle.             Men are teased about having a “doughy stomach” or about not having enough muscle. Men tend to be so self-conscious about this that they work out to extreme lengths.
Negative body image is not only something that leads to crazy diets, though. It is something that also affects us every day.
We think about it when we get dressed, we think about it when we see our reflection in the mirror, and we think about it when someone wants to take a picture. It infiltrates everything and can lead to poor reactions and major dips in self-esteem.
Pacific Lutheran University does a lot to combat negative body image. We have Love Your Body Day, put on by the Body Love club. We also have the Women’s Center — which promotes health for women and men.
But I wonder if it is enough.
We all come in different shapes and sizes and colors.         Personally, I am “short, fat, and proud of that” to quote Winnie the Pooh. I am proudly made of stuff and fluff.
Let’s all accept each other for where we are, and not look down on anyone else or on ourselves.