As promised, we are venturing into the minefield of body issues! (There’s going to be a lot of Daily Mail links here because I’m lazy and they hit on several points.)
Would you believe this woman
was so self-conscious that she wouldn’t wear jean shorts? Yes, the same actress we’ve seen in her underwear as The Invisible Woman and as a dancer in Sin City didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin until after she’d had children. Which strikes me as particularly funny since around the time the picture above was taken, my neighbor insisted I looked just like her, and I was right at my personal goal weight/fitness level.
I know. She’s gorgeous and had no reason to feel self-conscious about her body. But she did. Sometimes, our body issues are trivial.
And then there is Trina Hall.
A friend of hers was afraid of being known as “the fat yoga teacher.” So she did something stupid. Instead of being supportive of her friend, she decided to defy societal norms with an experiment in gaining weight.
‘I thought this would be an experiment in empowering people to love their bodies and not try to fit society’s mould.’
Instead of her usual health-conscious diet, she told US News she began to eat exactly what she pleased – which included plenty of Mexican food
At 5ft 5in, Trina’s weight soon rose from around 130lbs to about 170lbs, a move which she admits might be thought of as ‘career suicide’.
‘I want to slay the notion that people who do yoga need to look like the beauties on the cover of magazines’ Trina explains.
However, rather than the reaction of others to her changing shape, which Trina says was minimal, it was the effect of the weight gain on her own sense of self-worth that had the most impact.
On her blog she explains: ‘Guilt from eating foods I typically considered bad for me were constant companions in my thoughts.
I want to point out that it was not society’s idea of beauty that tore her down, rather it was the disconnect between her own self-image and what she was seeing in her mirror. As I’ve said before, don’t ever let someone else’s standards tell you what makes the person in your mirror beautiful. Trina decided to let her rebellion define her rather than her own self image. She wasn’t comfortable in her own skin and has no one to blame but herself.
‘The stories I made up about what people thought of me were changing and I was emotionally affected. Suddenly, my self-worth was proving to be connected to how good I looked wearing spandex – something I completely denied caring about before this experiment – and that pissed me off.
Tina admits: ‘My most shocking discovery through the process is that I’m afraid of not being loved. I noticed the self-talk was that my beauty is only on the surface. I feared no man would want me this way and that I would die alone, probably from choking on a potato chip.’
Trina doesn’t mention how her friend felt about her little experiment, but I can bet it wasn’t gratitude. How would you feel if a friend dramatically changed themselves to more closely emulate you and then saw themselves as ‘unlovable’ and lacking in self-worth? Yikes! Instead of showing solidarity with her friend, she became a magnifying glass to her perceived flaws. She did nothing to show her friend that she thought of her as ‘beautiful, fit, and trim.’ Maybe rather than turn her friend’s struggles into her own personal crusade, she should have helped her.
On the flip side, we have Victoria Elizabeth that had a wake-up call in the form of a photograph. Her body didn’t match her self-image and so she went and did something about it. Bravo!
The fashion industry isn’t helping people to have healthy body issues. Particularly when they take naturally thin, beautiful women and drive them to anorexia. It’s no wonder people will destroy their health and their bodies in a pursuit of excellence.
To someone, you are the most beautiful creature they have ever laid eyes on. Don’t destroy that either to prove a point as Trina did or to conform to impossible standards like Georgina. I’m not saying you shouldn’t address any personal body issues you may have, that would be awful hypocritical of me. Just do it to be the best you that you were created to be, neither in spite of or because of some arbitrary definition of beauty.