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My friends will laugh if they know that I have been watching America’s Next Top Model for the last three seasons. My husband is confused since he hears my constant gripe about society’s relentless pressure on women to remain youthful and thin.
The impossible body image
The reason I watch the show is that it helps me acknowledge the impossible and accept the reality of my body image. The typical model wannabe is over 6 foot tall, has a 24 inch waist, and is under the age of 22. At my age, there is no hope that I will magically have another growth spurt. I have not seen a 24 inch waist since my teens and each passing year gets me further away from 22.
The reality body image
These model wannabes will not survive a famine, whereas I will.
These model wannabes are built like a 12 year boy, whereas I am build like a woman.
These model wannabes have protruding hip bones that could cause injury, whereas I have love handles which, according to my husband, is a good thing.
These model wannabes may be laid up in a bed with hip fractures 40 years from now, whereas I can still garden.
The great equalizer – gravity and age
Gravity and age exist for everyone. Everything drops about one inch by 50 if you are lucky (more if you are not). Unless these model wannabes are living on the moon, they will experience sagging boobs like the rest of us at that age. Even the Wonder Bra can only do so much. And trying to get back your 20 year old body is impossible when you are 40. These model wannabes are no exception.
Also, this show gives me a better idea of what makeup, clothing, and photography can do to transform a good looking woman into a swan. Seriously, I never thought that models can have blotchy and pimply skin. Check out the YouTube Dove’s commercial shot above. They even stretch out her neck! This is the kind of stuff they do behind the scenes for celebrities. No wonder most of us cannot achieve the same results at home. Neither do these model wannabes on America’s Next Top Model look as good in person as they do in a photo shot. How can we idealize these young women who in reality have pimply skin and dark eye bags? And their conversations never venture beyond the level of a 16 year old? I certainly do not want to be one of them. Do you?
Although, this last season the finalist they selected is a plus sized model. It will be interesting to see if she will get as many jobs as previous winners. Goodbye to All Fat wrote a touching post recently about her struggle with body image starting as a teen to now as a 40 year old woman. I have been lucky to not have a weight issue until I am an adult. And I have been lucky to know that it is time to stop after 2.5 years of eating through my pain from a bad car accident. That is the hard part — knowing when it is time to stop.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
Photo by: Ibrahim Iujaz.
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