Body image: is being thin really in?

By Jocelyn MacDonald
Cole Harbour Regional High
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

If there is one thing that I can not stand, it's the way that the whole fashion industry makes every normal female feel fat.

Everyday we are surrounded by television shows, billboards, commercials and magazine ads that show beautiful people with beautiful faces. The fashion industry has to realize that not all females are six-foot, one hundred to one hundred and ten pounds and are a size that an eight-year old could wear.

The public is bombarded with images of women with beautiful, healthy skin, long lushes lashes, full lips and legs with matching ankles that women would " die " for. They are also looked upon by society as being the beautiful, sexy and ideal woman and to be one of these you have to fall under certain categories and have the right mixture of qualifications. They set the guidelines and trends for all women worldwide and it seems that every decade the definition of what beautiful is changes.

In the 1920's, women were to be flat chested and boy-like. To achieve this women would tape themselves or use girdles, which I imagine was tight, warm, uncomfortable and hard to breathe in. In the 1940's, women were more buxom, had an extra layer on them, and had more defined curves, like a pre-Marilyn Monroe. A woman known as "Twiggy" set the trend of "skin and bones" in the 1960's. I believe that this decade was when eating disorders started to occur since thinner was better.

Now here in the 1990's, women are supposed to look slim, not deathly skinny, but slim. Possibly it is now harder for us women than it has ever been. If you are too thin you're looked upon as having an eating disorder and are sick. It you're overweight, you are seen as someone who can always be found with a quarter-pounder in your hand.

Since women want to be beautiful and feel good, they struggle through the ongoing battle to shed those few pounds or spend thousands of dollars for a little snip here and tuck there. In attempts to be thin, eating disorders can occur and sometimes death. This then raises the question " Is being beautiful really worth it? "

Most of the eating disorders that the public hears about involves women. This is because women are so concerned and aware about their looks. You rarely hear about eating disorders and the male population. I believe that this is because male think they have less to worry about when it comes to their looks then women.

It seems that men are interested in the visual appearance of a woman first. Depending on what they look like determines whether you are about to go on a date or just say " Hi " in the hallway. Most women want to get to know what's on the inside first. Women do not really look on the outside or not as much as men. So if men are first visually attracted to a woman, women feel that they have to restrict, starve and push themselves to get this attention.

For the 97% of women that don't look this way we get depressed, of course we do. All we see is that when you are beautiful, you're popular, have fun, are admired and have no problem recieving attention from the opposite sex. And in the end, that just makes you want to turn to the fridge.

But if you stop to think about it, they can not be all that popular because after all we "hate" them right!

Recently, a study was conducted with two average people (one male and one female) and two more attractive people (again one male and one female). Both men and women were asked to dress the same, apply for the same job and have the same qualifications. In the end, the two average looking people were told that they were not hiring at the moment but would be called. The two more attractive people were offered the job, given benefits and even offered an increase in pay. This study suggests that more attractive people are more likely to get a job based on their looks. I'd like to know what makes these people so beautiful if they are so deathly thin. Why are they the "chosen" ones? If the majority of females are bigger then why are they not the beautiful ones? Who decided thin is in and thicker is ickier?

One day I would like to get up turn on my tv and see a "normal and average" female up on stage strutting her stuff with the announcer saying "bigger is better."