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Body Shaming and Diet Culture

A few weeks ago I was sitting in hot tub in Hocking Hills with some women who I did not know very well. The conversation was fun and light until someone began to bring up weight and body size. The comment was made: “I think 200 pounds is the cut off to how much I want to weigh.” Another comment, “you were so skinny, you looked like a twig when you were pregnant.” To hear these comments is painful and my reaction was dramatic. I had to leave and was not confident in speaking how I really felt. I think that these types of conversations are very degrading and create a negative, self-shaming environment. Idealizing body types, not accepting ones body, and encouraging poor eating habits all contribute to diet culture which ultimately silences the people which do not fit the “perfect” size. The outcast group is led to feel guilty about themselves or about what they eat, also the group is encouraged to talk negatively about one self. There is some sort of superior group which would have a very small range of body sizes and has traits that probably would not even be found on just one person. The book Beyond Beautiful as seen in the photo below tries to fight against diet culture and body shaming. It is a great resource for people, especially women, to read if they are having doubts about the health of their body image. The book includes activities that encourage readers to really analyze what events or information constructed their beliefs about body image and specifically about what the ideal body type is.

Through idealizing body types, all sort of outlets like newspapers, blogs, magazines, and advertisements have begun to sell a product that guarantees a different body than the one the consumer currently has. This Dr. Oz advertisement is a perfect example of how key phrasing and marketing ploys are used to convince a buyer that the product will change a serious part of their life. The truth is that most of our looks are determined by genetics and that burning fat is not the only thing that contributes to weight loss. Part of having a healthy body image is being willing to accept where ever ones body is and also recognizing that it could be slightly different based on lifestyle changes.

 

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