- Politics and Social Issues
What Body type and size is consider attractive?
To unveil the perfect body image.
What is consider beautiful in today's society in the American culture? As well as other cultures too. Asia considers, dark hair and fair skin to be attractive and the ideal look. Africa; obese women are considered to be very sexy. Europe (i believe) is similar to the same beliefs as American culture views of beauty, with Tinseltown and social media influences have brainwashed, and condition women and men alike to believe that in order to be attractive, you have to look just as they call attractive. For 2011 in the fashion world, being plus size was beautiful for just one time, and one time only. Which is ridiculous. Why can't they showcase this as beautiful all year long? why can't these fashion designers incorporate different bodies instead of a mono ideal body type? As much as this did make a difference in positive body images and saying all sizes are beautiful- if the fashion world decided to acknowledge how sexy curves are, why can't they include to both body types to prove that all is beautiful. And more importantly who was the one to decide to use thinner models who most of the time look sickly skinny? I have seen healthy skinny body types and unhealthy. And that's where i think most people are often confused, there shouldn't be any promotion with these unhealthy body types. And that's where this problem has led to many disputes and hate against women towards other women. Does this also have to do with procreation, who is the fittest of the human race to survive? Is this all just animal behavior?
In American culture, you must be thin to be in. With the media portraying in order to be considered attractive you have to be a size 0/2. From fashion magazines, fashion ads- the models used are rectangular in shape, have an ectomorph body type, with no real big breast or hips. On the other hand, you must have large D sized breasts- that are so perky they touch your chin, as if they are suffocating you- your waist must be incrediably small, as if your genetic code somehow blessed you with barbie's unbelievable body. Seems like a lose-lose situation, right?
Body shape and body image is tricky, especially if you lack self esteem and self confidence. Always wanting to look amazing like the models in magazines, and movie stars. In all actuality i feel more sorry for them, that they have to be under that scrutiny of the public eye. Criticize as being too thin or if you gain weight you're too fat. In our society it's a mockery of an appropriate body size, body shape, and body type. You would think, that the ideal body size would be proportionate, like the hourglass. But it seems portraying the ideal body size, a size extra small, with straight bodies like a 12 year old boy who happens to be 5'11 to 6' feet tall, is the ideal body image. The average size for a woman is a size 14. Which is a size large. Yet the media portrays the size 0/2 to be ideal?
Body shape, just like body size is an iffy issue too. From what science has told us, and from what men say is attractive, are curves. The ideal body shape is an hourglass, which is proportionate. They have the curves in the right places. The bust and hips is larger than their waist, but the fact is most, women are not at all an hourglass. Only few percent of (a study shown) women are naturally an hourglass shape. Majority of women are spoons, pears, square/rectangular in shape. In a UK article about body shapes, there were 12 different body types. Hourglass, Vase, cello, apple, skittle(bowling pin), Cornet(inverted triangle), goblet, lollipop, column, bell, pear, and brick(square/rectangular). I believe the UK article to be more accurate versus the normal four body shape categories. But putting so much emphasis on the hourglass shape and declaring that its the only attractive body shape can create jealousy, and insecurity. And it is apparently a proven fact, that women who happen to have these perfect hourglass shapes creates respect and envy amongst our fellow women.
In a scientific understanding, the hourglass shape is more fertile, and these women can procreate with much ease, producing intelligent offspring. In a study, this type of body shape reacts like a drug in a man's brain. I don't think this study has anything to do with personal preferences on what someone would find attractive. Now you may be wondering, well if science talks about what's attractive to our animal instinct for survival of the fittest. Then it makes sense for procreation purposes. It still doesn't define attractiveness, it place social ideals on women. For those of us who can't seem to meet these type of expectations, it can result in a negative outcome with low self-esteem, jealousy, and insecurity. And the ones it does meet, on a negative side can be overzealous, egotistical, belittle others,etc.
Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. When social norms and the media place these ideal body types into the brains of every human being out there, a lot of people fall short to what the ideal body image should look like. And those who are mostly insecure with them not looking like the pictures or a starlet, they'll either develop low self-esteem. Or they will result in critiquing someone bigger than them or perhaps treat women of a smaller stature disrespectfully and rudely, to make themselves feel better about who they are in comparison. Instead of loving themselves for the person that they are and understand that flaws make everyone unique and this is what make us human beings are these flaws. These social ideals are often misleading, and when women act out in a rage claiming that this is unfair- fashion designers like Karl Lagerfield say its " No one wants to see curvy women on the catwalk. You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly. The world of fashion was about dreams and illusions". No Karl, its not about women sitting on their asses eating chips, (although you actually should sit down and eat versus standing up, because you will feel like you ate something, and not a snack) even healthy looking women no matter what the size, feel that as a world society, we need to show case healthy body types and ideals. It time justice be brought out against these negative social ideals. As a human race, we should be more compassionate towards one another and accepting to our own individuality. Being different is a blessing. And its time we destroy social ideals and social norms to end the cycle of unrealistic perfection.
When i was growing up, i was barely ever told i was pretty except for the minor occasion of my mother yelling at me to pull my hair up to show my pretty face. I remember feeling not pretty. I felt ugly. I was the chubby girl. So the ridicule for being bigger, at school was horrendous. Constantly made fun of by my peers and siblings for being the "fat" girl. Popular boys made my life a hell during my middle school and high school years, when you just want to be accepted for who you are and developing into a woman. And often i think parents forget to teach their children that being different is a good thing. Including different body types, and there is nothing wrong with being thin or being thick, or for the matter FAT. Beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes. Just like in the movie, Little Miss Sunshine. In one of the scenes, she orders with a la mode. Which came with ice cream, the dad- is talking to his daughter about how the ice cream she order is going to make her fat. And no man likes a fat girl. The rest of her family thought it was wrong for the dad to say that, and the grandfather said there is nothing wrong with a woman who has extra meat on her. I think this type of negative image placement on a young child's mind is wrong. Claiming that a man will only be attracted to a woman if she is thin, is placing social unrealistic ideals on young girls. Even mothers can do this, when they have a negative body image of themselves. Their placing their negative body image into the heads of their daughters. Even if the mother looks fine, this will eventually lead to the daughter's (and quite possibly sons too) to have a negative outlook about their own bodies creating a vicious cycle that seems to not end. As well with peer pressure, teasing, and bullying someone for being different isn't helping the situation. And it can be avoided with parents teaching their children how its wrong to not like someone just because they aren't like them, don't look like them, and/or don't do the normal things that they do in their family. Discrimination is conditioned and taught, not something you are born with.
With all of these negative body images due to social ideals and society placing it upon others. Creates the problem of insecurity. Insecurity is what causes these negative outlooks on how people view themselves and how they treat others. Women often say rude and disrespectful things about other women, criticize what other women have or how they look. Instead of these women addressing their issues they rather say cruel things of the people they are jealous of or say these hurtful comments because they are truly hurting themselves. Without realizing your own insecurities, you're just causing more damage than good. Masking a problem instead of fixing the issue. You're not only hurting yourself, but now you are affecting someone else's body image. And after a while it can take a toll on someone. I even remember watching a tv show on VH1 a long time ago, and there was a thinner sister and a bigger sister. The thinner sister, would call her sister fat, thinking it would motivate her sister to lose weight. It actually hurt her sister's feelings. I often find people do this, as a tough love approach. But belittling someone so you can make them ambitious, because you want them to be skinny- not only making their self-esteem go down, its also place their own ideals onto that person. Just like someone who is skinny, telling someone they need to gain weight, even when they look fine is belittling them as well.
Its not even just women who have insecurity issues, men do too. Unfortunately with these negative self images, insecurity will create major problems in these people's lives who do not know how to handle it. Instead of a person who is content with who they are, will fixed their insecurity from within, the extremely insecure individual tend to go to outsources to help their problems, to mask what's really bothering them. Its unhealthy and results into jealousy, jealous rages, abusive tendencies- especially in men, over accommodating for someone, self loathing,depression, criticizes others, and doubting oneself.
The only time when body image should be a concern, in my opinion is when it comes to health mentally and physically. Being stick skinny, literally like a skeleton from anorexia, bulimia, and an unhealthy excessive amount of weight, like morbid obesity. With the negative images for being thin create the idea of people with bulimia and anorexia in their eyes, that they are fat...Whatever "fat" they think they are, no amounts of dieting, exercise, and puking can get rid of their "fat". For morbidly obese people, there are different reasons why. Poor eating habits, you're body only needs so much food for energy, and whatever it doesn't use stores as fat, to be used later. But other times there are genetics that play a part, or medical problems. Not many people decide to be "fat" or morbidly obese. There are a select few that choose to be, but not many. I find it unhealthy due to diabetes, cardiovascular problems, nervous system issues, and whatever other medical problems that can occur.
After reading articles and viewing pictures of curvy women and skinny women. People saying women with curves are real women. Well...Women with curves are real women. Skinny women are real Women. Well i have come to find out, that all women, are indeed real women. We all have gone through puberty. But i have also realize, its not about all of our different sizes and shapes. Its about who we are as a person, and that our hearts are kind and compassionate is what makes all of us women beautiful. After all, when we all age physical beauty fades. Our skin will no longer be tight as when we were younger. But for the social ideals and norms to affect our own minds of what someone else should look like, is ridiculous. After all we believe in equality, and that is what this should be about. To promote healthy images of bodies in all different shapes and sizes. From a brilliant size 8 to a ravishing size 18. Women are beautiful creatures since we walk into Adam's life or when evolution decided that we walk on our hind legs. If you ever notice how old paintings of naked women are shown as plumped and curvy we're beautiful. Well they still are, and women who deem a smaller petite size are just as beautiful. And that's what we women need to realize, size and shape doesn't prove who is more or less attractive. And having a man or social ideals from media, men, and other women, shouldn't ever make anyone feel less than they truly are. Following these negative norms make us less of an individual and farther from equality.