Women in our culture have issues with body image, beauty, and weight.  I am one of those women.  And when I say we have issues, what I mean is that we have big problems that are such a part of our mindset that we don’t even know they are problems.

We think they are normal.  And right.  And admirable.  I shared a shocking look inside The American woman’s mind and today I’d like to share a different glance.

Flat Belly goal PIN

Let me tell you a true story.

This story takes place in typical Americana, not Hollywood or the runways of NYC.

Picture if you will…. a single woman who controls what she eats so she won’t gain any weight.  She is a healthy weight.  She is in a good range, still she declines many foods and thinks a lot about what she eats.  She talks about it too.  “Oh, I won’t have any of that, I need to watch my weight.”

This seems normal.

Weight issues and body image are a big deal to her, as seen in  how she thinks about people (including her children and herself), how she talks to others, and how her children speak of weight.  The mental dialogue inside her head often goes to weight.  She notices and makes a note of the shape the people in her life are, in regards to weight.  Even if she doesn’t say it, she definitely thinks it.

This seems normal.

Add to the scenario the goal of a flat belly.  She thinks about it.  She tries to exercise with that idea in mind.

She has had four children, but that doesn’t affect the goal.  She still believes that a flat belly is a worthy goal and is most beautiful.  So, she spends the money from a tight budget on a book on How to Have a Flat Belly.  She filters her meal choices and other ideas through this goal.

This seems normal.

Now…

Add to the scenario that this woman is 93 years old.

{crickets chirp and jaws slacken…. I hope}

Nope, this isn’t made up.

This woman who lives in an assisted living center is the perfect example of what our culture is doing to women.

It’s warping them.

Try to be thin.  Think about your food in terms of how much weight you will gain.  Notice the bodies of others.  Have a flat belly.  Work to make this all happen.

If you want to be beautiful, lovely, or admirable.

Flat Belly & Thin Ideal = American ideal of beautiful.

No matter your age.

Don’t think you’re warped?  Honestly answer these questions:

1. How do you feel about your stomach?   Do you do all you can to make if flat/smooshed/hidden?

2. When you see a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, how much do you reflect on their weight?  How much weight they have gained or lost?  The shape they are in?  Do you mention it to your spouse?

3.  How much time do you spend focused on the body shape or weight you want?  Whether in actual exercise or in time spent wishing you exercised to be in shape, how much of your life is focused on the flat belly and thin goal?

4.  How do you feel about yourself, truly, when it comes to body image?   Do you fall short and you hate that?  Do you believe that you are not lovely and you accept it?  Is beautiful something you never have and never will use about yourself because you don’t meet the standard?

5.  At what age do you think standards change?  When does a woman not have to worry about body image anymore? Has that number changed as you have aged?  Does the line keep moving?

6.  What do you consider healthy for body weight/shape?  Is it based on appearance or some kind of health standard?  If it’s a health standard, whose?  How often do you check that for yourself?  Are you aware of where you land in healthy markers for your body weight and shape?  If you wrote down what you think is healthy, would it be attainable with a normal life and with the body God gave you?

7. When you shop for clothes, how much are you wanting to hide?  What is the goal of your attire: look lovely or look thin?  If a shirt looks great, but shows a pooch, do you toss it?  Do you feel lovely in anything?

8.  If you could change things about your body, permanently, would you?  What would they be? Do these  things come from the Western Ideal of Beauty or something else?  Would you be willing, if it was free, to have a tummy tuck?

9.  Do you ignore/blow off the people in your life who speak against the Western Ideal of Beauty?  When they compliment you and tell you that you are beautiful, do you think, “Except…”  or “They are just being nice…”   Or when they say words that don’t mesh with the Flat Belly & Thin Ideal, do you think, “They gave up.”

10.  How do you define beauty by the way your speak and act?  What would your children say is your definition of beautiful?  Are the only people you call beautiful aloud the ones who fit the Flat Belly & Thin Ideal?  Do you actively encourage thinking outside the Western view?   Do you often say one or more of the following: lost weight, gained weight, I hate my (insert body part here), fat, overweight, looks healthy (and only applies to thin people), watching my weight?

Women in America are bombarded by body image ideals.all.the.time.   The media blitz and constant feed for the standard is unbelievable.  If no one speaks against it, a female simply soaks it in without realizing it.

Then it becomes her way of thinking.

Fat means ugly.  It doesn’t mean significantly overweight.  It means unattractive.

Overweight means any weight that is past thin.  No matter when in life.  It means unattractive.

Sigh.

Flat belly & Thin… not realistic for many if not most people, but it’s still the standard for beautiful here and it affects women.  Greatly.

It’s no wonder the 93 year old woman is warped.

It’s no wonder I’m warped.

How warped are you?

More on this next week.  I have more to say.  Big surprise there, huh?

How are you fighting the warping, for yourself and for women in general?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for two of Carol Barnier’s books!  They are fabulous…. just like her!

 

 

 

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