Society has a hard time being happy

As I become more aware of what healthy living means to me I better understand that it, as well as body image, are not one size fits all.

I don’t know if I’m just fully opening my eyes to the situation or if society has gotten more aggressive in its judging but I’ve noticed a continual rising trend in anti-fat shaming movements, girls’ self esteem campaigns and public decorations that real women have curves.

This leads me to believe that in a wake of disgust against them  women feel they are having to take a stance to convince others as well as themselves that their body is their business and not a free-for-all for every person with an opinion and vocal cords or a keyboard.

Earlier this summer a 22-year-old woman took her own stance and lost 182 pounds after a group of men drove by her and threw a kebob at her, calling her names because she was overweight.

Recently I’ve made my own decision to lead a healthier lifestyle, through food choices and physical activity. The idea of it consumes many of my thoughts throughout the day.

And along with all my thoughts and planning, thanks mainly to a Pinterest addiction, I’ve taken those first steps to attaining that healthier body.

While this isn’t an entirely new fascination of mine; ever since college when I graduated from high school sports I have known that I should eat right and stay active, I’ve never before taken such definitive actions.

That being said, had I not recently made friends with two women who dedicate the time to making fit and healthy decisions I would probably still be wishing myself to a healthier state rather than working toward it.

As I slowly submerge myself into the world of working out I, being an introspective person, asked myself where this renewed interest in healthy living came from and where I intend for it to go. As I become more aware of what healthy living means to me I better understand that it, as well as body image, are not one size fits all.

Yes, I do have a picture in my mind of what I’d like to look like and yes, with the support of friends I will safely work myself in that direction. But if I don’t someday end up looking like that II can already tell I’m looking forward to the actual work it is going to take and I’ll be happy with fit and healthy.

But a niggling voice in the back of my head with a possible overzealous sense of justice, that also makes me a hypocrite, questions should body image be any kind of driving force in a decision to lead a healthier lifestyle or should it simply be seen a fortunate side effect.

Society, and it varies from culture to culture, region to region, has always had a set body type it deems the most beautiful women should strive for. In western culture that body type has changed over the years from the boyish figure of the 1920s to the fuller figured women of 1950s to the slender or hourglass bodies of today.

Exposing young girls to the ideals of obtaining that tiny waist without sacrificing other areas of their body has infiltrated the media for so long that now society is in the midst of trying to spin 180 degrees on itself to alleviate the unattainable thinness girls are dying to achieve — sometimes literally.

And pushing any one body type, not just skin and bones as many woman are looking to a curvier body, is a dangerous thing as individuals are turning to others performing cosmetic surgeries out of their homes at cheaper costs.

One woman, who was not a licensed physician, even went as far to perform rhinoplasty on a patient in a home-based clinic.

The site itself has been inspected by Ottawa Public Health Environmental Health Protection Branch and complies with best practice guidelines.

Training girls to grow up believing they need to meet these beauty standards is wreaking havoc on their self-esteem, self worth, health, mental health and even bank accounts.

With people always changing  and the “preferred” body type also changing the biggest consistent factor I see is the push for people to be one thing or look like one thing. But society just needs that something to poke a stick at — whether it be body image or something else — when instead it should just settle into a less invasive, happier state.

Amelia Naismith is the new reporter/photographer for The Pipestone Flyer.

 

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