I was watching Vice the other night and it was about the country of Mauritania where the women go out into the dessert, often times with their daughters, they sit under tarps and drink nothing but milk and eat these little balls of dough until they throw up. Well, they do their best not to throw up or to move too much because the entire purpose of this practice is to gain as much weight as possible. In their culture being heavy is seen as beautiful, so much so that it is hard to find a man to marry if you are not fat. Basically the bigger the better. Which is very interesting to me, considering the culture we live in which is basically the exact opposite.
Anyway, I started writing this post about wearing stripes in the spring and I started judging the shit out of my body. I was editing the photos of me in one of my favorite dresses and I was near melt down at how awful I thought I looked. I decided to take a little step back and ask myself what I was comparing myself to?? Because compared to the women of Mauritania, I will be single my entire life for being this skinny. But compared to some of the images I look at of beauty in America, I need to slim down if I want to be beautiful.
Sure the media is highly responsible for photoshopping models and creating this unrealistic idea of beauty that is physically unattainable to most of us, but I don’t think we should blame them. I don’t think we should blame anyone actually. I think the only way to change this for future generations is to take responsibility for ourselves. To choose not buy into it. To choose a body and style that is healthy for your culture, age and ethnicity. If you really want to point fingers, we, as a collective society, create the need for what is in the media, for the most part. If there is no demand, there is no supply. I am not a huge fan of the Kardashians for lots of different reasons, but I do feel like, in a sense, they have begun to change the vision of beauty in America, which brings to light the idea that it is doable.
Let me be very clear, I love beauty. I love makeup and getting my nails done, and taking care of my skin, teeth and hair. But there is a difference between taking care of yourself and feeling amazing in your skin vs creating yourself as someone else so you can be beautiful to the unrealistic standards of our culture. I know what it’s like to be an adolescent and have this need to be beautiful and super skinny so your peers will like you, because really everyone wants just to be like and accepted. But unfortunately as a result, what our culture has seen, is a negative impact on the youth, increases in depression, eating disorders and drug use.
Which brings us back to Mauritania, I had never even heard of this country… I still can’t pronounce it but it makes me realize that all my insecurities about not looking good enough in my spring stripes are really not that bad. There is so much to be thankful for… I mean in the grand scheme of things we have it pretty good. I would much rather eat fresh green food and work out than drink milk until I barf in the dessert in the name of beauty.
So, that’s great and all, but how do we change it? I don’t really know, but I do have a guess at where we can start.
- Look at things differently. I read a quote today that said “your body doesn’t exist, it is created moment to moment by your point of view” – Gary Douglas. When you have a judgement about your body, you are actually creating more whatever that judgment is. A huge practice of individuals who successfully loose weight or go through a transformation is visualizing the end result. By focusing on what you desire, you get more of that. Try focusing of all the positive attributes of your body for a while. Try focusing on being healthier instead of being skinny.
- Stop shit talking to yourself. Find another hobby. If you don’t have anything nice to say (to yourself), then don’t say anything at all.
- Educate yourself. If you just believe the first thing you hear about something and make that your truth, you’re not smart. Sorry. I’m not trying to be mean, but this is a huge problem with this industry and with our view of ourselves. Expand your mind by learning about lots of different points of views. Question your current believes, read and follow your intuition before you believe in something.
So what do you think? Do you think we can change the vision of beauty in America?