The Media Thinks You’re Fat, Ugly And Stupid.

 

Stunningly beautiful, perfectly fit.  That’s not what most people look like where I come from.

I was thirteen years old when I had the pleasure of being notified in a public locker room by a few ‘girlfriends’ that I was the proud owner of cucumber boobs.

Yup…cucumber boobs, lucky me.   Now, I’m thinkin’, this wasn’t a good thing, these cucumber boobs.  Just sayin’.

Since that milestone in my adolescent development, I’ve filled out a little, thank God, and have been bound and determined to mold my God-given form into the PERFECT body.  Diet, running, diet, kickboxing, diet, swimming, diet…surgery????

Why, you ask?

Well, it’s obvious, silly!  There’s something wrong with my body!

WTF!

Thirty years later, I’m hoping my boobs are more normal.  But you know, a couple more years of gravity and a sock on each one, I might just be able to sweep the floor while I make dinner.  I’ve since added a nice arm-flap appendage, that with just the right momentum, I could take out a few unsavory co-workers, if need be. Don’t say this girl doesn’t know how to make lemonade out of lemons!

So…Who the fuck made me think there is something wrong with me?

The Media had a huge hand in it.

Women AND men of all ages in America are up against an unrealistic view of what beauty is all about, from the TV shows we watch, to the commercials, to magazine covers.  We are haunted everyday by what sells: Physical Perfection.

And who’s to say what perfection is?

The casting director of some TV show like 90210? Why are all the people in the 90210 zip code so much more beautiful than my zip code?  Is it our water that makes my community so…typically normal?

And why all the emphasis on physical perfection?

Because this is what sells.  The media gives America what it wants. Beautiful, sexy people to look at.  But at what cost?  Do our children think this is what they are supposed to look like to be poplular, cool, accepted?

90210 Cast

Sorry, I can’t live up to those standards.  Sadly though, our kids are buying into this.  They feel lesser, unworthy, self-esteem begins to shrivel.  Teens generally don’t become popular because of their grades or their kindness when the emphasis is on physical beauty.  We are our own worst enemy.

When was the last time you saw an even remotely non-beautiful  person in an alcohol commercial?  Only when they are meant to be the comic relief, I assure you.

I don’t know about you, but the last time I Swiffered my floor, I wasn’t wearing slacks and a button down blouse and heels.  I was braless and had on a pair of paint-splattered yoga pants with a hole in the crotch and a bleach-stained  DICK’S LAST RESORT t-shirt.  And I probably didn’t shower yet, or change yesterday’s underwear, either.

Americans like to look at ‘pretty’ people.  We subconsciously think, “Hey…if I buy that I’ll look like him or her!…If I drink that I’ll be popular like him or her…”

Honey, there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna look like Taylor Swift no matter how much CoverGirl shit I plaster on my face.  SORRY!  Oh, and by the way, naturally beautiful Taylor Swift evidently doesn’t look like her ads either. Her latest Cover-Girl ad was pulled by the National Advertising Division for being overly ‘photoshopped’ and unrealistically computer manipulated.

 Taylor natural Taylor cancelled

How the hell do these advertising companies get away with that?  How can they lie to the consumer by using computer altered photos?  Isn’t this un-ethical?

Chew on these stats for a while:

Body Image Statistics

Two out of five women and one out of five men would trade three to five years of their life to achieve their weight goals.

 In 1970 the average age of a girl who started dieting was 14; by 1990 the average dieting age fell to 8.

A study found that women overestimate the size of their hips by 16% and their waists by 25%, yet the same women were able to correctly estimate the width of a box.

After viewing images of female fashion models, seven out of ten women felt more depressed and angry than prior to viewing the images.

The “ideal” woman – portrayed by models, Miss America, Barbie dolls, and screen actresses – is 5’5, weighs 100 pounds and wears a size 5.

Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents.

35% of occasional dieters progress into pathological dieting.

The diet industry (diet foods, diet programs, diet drugs, etc.) takes in over $40 billion each year and continues to grow.

30% of women chose an ideal body shape that is 20% underweight and an additional 44% chose an ideal body shape that is 10% underweight.

The average U.S. woman is 5’4” and weighs 140 pounds whereas the average U.S. model is 5’11” and weighs 117 pounds.

Courtesy ofwww.colorado.edu

We all know beauty comes from within; our hearts, our compassion, our kindness and humor.  So why is 90% of the emphasis of the media in this country based on outer beauty alone? (Not to mention social-melodramatic-chaos, but that’s a whole other blog.)

Answer: MONEY

So what’s a girl or guy to do?

I support companies who make an effort at taking the emphasis off outer beauty.  For example DOVE.  I love their ads: average-looking people, average-sized people taking care of the body they’ve been blessed with.  I also take EVERY opportunity to spread my brilliant opinion to young people about the importance of what’s inside vs. what’s outside.  I recently watched a teen on Facebook post a new photo of herself and recieve 82 comments.  When the same teen posted a comment about the sadness of a teen-related drunk driving accident, she recieved 4 comments.  The youth of this country is where the power lies for the future.

DOVE ADS

People who feel better about themselves, are happier, kinder and are less apt to strike out or be judgemental of others.

The opinion of what consititutes ‘sexy’ has changed drastically over the years.  Personally, I believe ‘sexy’ is a state of mind, a way of thinking and being comfortable in your own skin.  Sexy can come in all kinds of packages.  Screw pigeonholing!

 1950 sexy  2010 sexy

What attributes in a man or woman make them attractive to you?

What’s your opinion of how the media handles marketing?   Would you buy makeup or clothes from a plus-size average looking model?

What can you do to make a difference for the generations to come?

I’m going to tell at least one person a day I like them because of a wonderful inner quality as well as a surprising outer quality.  And I’m gonna find the people who least expect it.

Variety IS the spice of life!

PS My judgment Count from Mojo Monday? 7, 3 being against myself.  Sometimes…we are our hardest critic.

Love, Josie

Comments

  1. I always admired women like Ann Sothern and Betty Hutton. Yes those ladies were before my time, but they were curvy and pretty. And that 2010 pic is NOT sexy, she looks sickly, but I get what you mean.
    Looking back at my teenage years, I wish I had someone who said “hey, you’re fine just the way you are.” ‘I thought I was fat at 5’4″ and 120 I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin until after I had my first kid and then I weighed 160, firmly solidifying my role as a plus size woman and that’s fine. I like who I am and I’m healthy.
    Thanks for the article. It really is food for thought.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hey W.Lynn! I’m so glad you joined us! I dont think I’ve weighed 120 since the 4th grade but hey…Im no worse for it now! Funny how maturity helps us to see the big picture. But for alot of young children, time is of the essence.
      Health IS the most important thing and Im so glad you mentioned that! Stay healthy and happy and those you love will be enlightened by you! Way to go!
      J

  2. During the two years I was a teaching fellow at a university (years and years ago), this was always the hottest topic we covered. I had students bring in all kinds of print media and we talked about subtext and how to train ourselves to be aware of it and how it influences us. Because the same type of images repeated over and over certainly do influence us…how we think, how we act, and how we make purchasing decisions.

    It was awesome to see those young people realize that media messages can really manipulate not only how they view the world, but more importantly, themselves. Great message, Josie. One that women AND men need. :)

    PS. 5 judgments yesterday–2 of myself and the other 3 while I watched the evening news. I thought that was interesting.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Ooooh…evening news…Don’t get me wound up.
      Advertising is a great study in psychology…I never said people in advertising weren’t brilliant. Just short-sighted at times.
      Thanks Misty!

  3. Great subject! And the stats … OMG mind boggling! I’m not a big TV watcher, but when I sit down with others to watch a sporting event, such as a football game, I’m always amazed at the female models they use to sell everything from men’s deodorant to beer. There’s more silicone than at my local Home Depot. No wonder plastic surgeries a billion dollar industry and children are dieting in elementary school.

    Keep up the good work,
    Renee

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hi Renee! It’s just amazing how the world will do anything to make a sale. Money certainly does make the world go round and consumers are blinded by the buzz. Sad but true.
      Thanks for being with me today!
      Josie

  4. Okay…you’ve touched on a hot topic of mine and you know, I’m just gonna say it although it may stray from the exact subject line, I feel it is not only relevant, it is detrimental to the conversation. There are many commercials about beautiful people as the intent is “sex sells” and goodness knows there is truth to that, however, have you ever tried to diet with the constant intrusion of commercials about food? Pizza, Tacos, Lasagna, Steak, Crab, Lobster, Shrimp, Burgers…I mean, come on already. That up close view of luscious calories in your face ALL THE TIME? Try to get through any program, magazine or on-line article without food being thrown in your face. And it’s not like carbs don’t beget more carbs. Now there is that healthy food out there which is filling but most cuisine being shoved in front of us is designed to make you crave it and then want more.

    No wonder we have a weight problem in this country. So how do we feel good about ourselves when temptation keeps sabotaging our efforts?

    Just sayin’.

    Now…I have to go because it’s my date-nite with hubby tonight and I’m thinking Chinese for dinner…

    Misty…stop judging me hehehe (I wouldn’t dare to count my own failures in that arena).

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hi Karen!
      Silly you….If they didn’t put all those food commercials out there you wouldn’t buy their food, they wouldn’t make money, you wouldn’t gain weight and Nutisystem (no offense…I’m all for healthy eating programs) wouldn’t make any money! Its a win-win for everyone EXCEPT the consumer…YOU.
      How about eyelashes? Have you EVER seen lashes like on these cosmetic ads? My God, those girls must need the jaws of life to open their eyes!
      (Oh shit…Im judging!!! Add another for Friday!!! Somebody HELP ME! Misty???)

      Thanks for your words of wisdon Karen and remember…Everything in moderation. We all know the rules of healthy living, its the application of the rules that suck. Enjoy that chinese food and walk an extra lap tomorrow for your health!
      Love Josie

  5. Josie!

    Chick, you rock! LOVED the post and shared it :)

    What attributes in a man or woman make them attractive to you?
    His attitude toward life and his sense of humor.

    What’s your opinion of how the media handles marketing?
    Same as yours, I guess. They are stuffing all this ‘crap’ down our throats so if you’re susceptible to it and don’t ‘filter’ through all of the noise, you’ll be buying into this s*#@t and then you’re SOL.

    Would you buy makeup or clothes from a plus-size average looking model?
    You bet! Why the hell not?! These advertising ‘suits’ need to get a clue as well.

    What can you do to make a difference for the generations to come?
    LOL! I sometimes doubt there is anything that I can do, but spreading the ‘word’ like your post is one :)

    This post also might I explains my attracting a man that’s 12 yrs my junior. When I met my DH some 18 yrs ago I thought he was such a ‘nice young man’ that I tried to set him up with girls his age (btw: his mom did this too) and somehow all those dates didn’t work out and I asked him point blank if he’s maybe… gay?! Nothing against gays, mind you, just wondered… I mean these chicks we were setting him up were very beautiful (he’s very handsome himself and he was 25 then). He told me that he was the envy of every guy parading these ‘brainless twits’ but for the life of him he couldn’t ‘connect’ to any of them. He said in the middle of conversation, they would go ‘blank’ and it drove him nuts!

    A few years later he came to me to tell me that his friend Liz thought he just might be in love with me, because he couldn’t stop talking about me…and the rest is history. It appears that while i was ‘older’, 20 lbs over (their ideal weight) and very, very short (I made the man at DMV lie for me and make me 5 feet tall!) he found me to be more attractive than the girls he was dating. I’ll never forget the day we married (we walked down the isle together, holding hands), and as we were pulling out of the church’s parking lot driving toward the reception, he took my hand in his, kissed it and looked me in the eyes saying ‘This feels so right. I’m so happy we married’ It will be 12 years since we married and I love this man to pieces (he’s 43 now, and I’m so glad to have been there to watch him grow into such a great man).

    Mel

    • YAY, YOU, Mel!!!!! Love your happily ever after!!

      • LOL! Thanks! I swear I must have done something right in my previous life to deserve this Dude:)

        You’re my FB bud, so you know what I’m talking about (one of our ‘courting’ photo’s is on my Timeline, and the smaller one is a kiss from our wedding). The man is too cute and because of my age and my ‘stats’ it never occurred to me that we would be compatible. I see a gorgeous young man, and then you automatically think a gorgeous young woman should be a perfect match for him. Well, color me happy when that whole theory blew (happily for me) in my face!

        Mel

  6. marsharwest says:

    Hey, Josie, very interesting post. It’s all in our heads. I’ve weighed 30 pounds lighter and felt fat. I look at pictures from back then and think how come I couldn’t see I was okay?
    Yeah, I agree the media does a number on us, but we’re equally to blame. We watch shows with beautiful and almost always thin people and buy the products they pitch. Money talks.
    And yes, I too buy Dove. Good for them for using folks who really look like most of us do.
    As writers, we have a greater challenge to get out of the chair and move, when we need to be in the chair to work. I’m trying to walk up and down my stairs a couple of times a day when I don’t go in for my Pilates class. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own choices.

  7. Josie Matthews says:

    You are so right Marsha, Just like Misty said about her students studying advertising…Being aware is half the battle. Even with my strong opinions and my knowlege I still Oooh and Ahh at a beautiful woman with killer boobs and a take-me-now handsome guy in just the right jeans…Hey, we are all human. But a little more help by the media to tone down the ‘unrealistic expectation’ would be a big help. Especially for teens and adults who really dont get it.
    I’m heading out now for my kickboxing class and to my hairdresser tomorrow…go figure…but even though Ill never look like Natalie Portman or Selma Hayak I still like myself just the way I am. Mostly for my humor cause personally I think Im the funniest damn person on the face of the earth…Right Misty?
    Have a great weekend!
    Josie

  8. Hi, Josie.
    Loved your post…and, oh so true. It’s not about weight for me anymore. There comes a time when the wrinkles start to take over and you wonder who that person is looking back at you from the mirror. Not that I haven’t earned every single line that adorns my face, elbows, knees, toes. You name it, I’ve got a wrinkle to show you. There are days I love each and every one, and then there are those other days…

    But you know what, I wouldn’t trade a smooth face for any of the life experience that make me who I am. Not one single wrinkle would I laser away if it meant I had to give up who I have become.

    I’m not in line for a facelift. Never will be. But on those “other days” I do confess to pulling my waddle up from my neck and smiling at the smooth surface. Just for a minute.

    L. j.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Oh Lucy,
      I bet one or two of your wrinkles has my name written all over it! But last time I saw you I certainly didnt see any wrinkles…just one of the most wonderful people Ive ever known! I too find myself guilty of “Oh, shit…now when did that one creep in there?” when I stare in the mirror. Many a day I’ve hovered over the ‘Lifestyle Lift’ commercial secretly penning the website for later research. But I think for me its more of last minute plea that life is going by too fast, there is no way that I’m not still 24 because in my head thats how old I am. And like I said before, being the best that you can be is wonderful, just be sure you make it an inside job as well as an outside job. I’m never giving up my obsession for greatest pair of shoes no matter how shallow I seem. It’s too much fun being a girl!
      I love you!
      Josie

  9. JOSIE ROCKS MY WORLD!
    So happy for you and Misty!
    Best of luck! I cant wait to read more!
    Jen

  10. Hi Josie,
    Great blog. If I lose enough weight, I might be able to become a plus size model. Seriously, plus size models are usually a ten.

    America is on a skinny beauty kick. Watch British televison and the folks on it look like your neighbors. I remind all my girl students that Marilyn Monroe was a size 14. Now some models declare that they will kill themsleves if they ever got that big. Sad.

    I do try to take back my place and not hide out because I’m not a size zero. I wore a very retro two piece to the beach this year because I wanted too.:) Just to show people that ordinary bodies can go to the beach too.

  11. Josie Matthews says:

    Way to go Morgan, Being comfy in your own skin and sporting your style. I love it. God what I would do to be a size 10!!! Just for the sake of being able to wear a cute belt!

    With women like you guiding young girls we are destined for a better future here in America.!
    Thanks for stopping by!
    Josie

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