Turn Beauty Inside Out
There is tremendous pressure for people, especially women and
girls, in the U.S. to be thin. Our culture believes that unless you are thin you
cannot be happy, successful, attractive, powerful or accepted. Much of the
pressure to be thin comes from the media. Typically thin people play successful,
popular characters in movies and on TV and fatter people are portrayed as lazy,
unsuccessful characters. In addition to media influences, family members,
friends, schoolmates and colleagues can feed the value of thinness. How often do
we hear family members talking about how dissatisfied they are about their
thighs, how fat Uncle Bill has gotten, or how Cousin Jane would be so pretty, if
she could only lose some weight. We also get this chatter when we hang out with
friends. Questions and comments such as “Does this make me look fat?”, “ I ate
so much I’m going to balloon up to an elephant” and “I can’t believe Darlene,
she’s gotten so big. She better start watching herself or her boyfriend might
constant barrage of these comments sets people up to be dissatisfied with their
bodies and chips away at their self esteem leading them at times to take drastic
and unhealthy measures to try and control their bodies sizes and shapes.
Unfortunately, fifty percent of 9-year-old and eighty percent of 10-year-old
American girls diet. This practice is dangerous as these girls will likely not
be getting enough energy and nutrients, such as, calcium, iron, zinc, protein
and fat, needed for growth and development. Some
more interesting facts:
number one magic wish for young girls age 11-17 is to be thinner.
percent of young girls have substantially disordered eating attitudes.
than five million Americans suffer from eating disorders.
girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer,
or losing their parents.
percent of those afflicted with eating disorders are adolescent and young
develop eating and self-image problems before drug or alcohol problems;
there are drug and alcohol programs in almost every school, but rarely are
there eating disorder programs,
of dieting mothers are more likely to diet and develop eating disorders.
can we do to help?
need to evaluate our culture’s and own desire for thinness and phobia of
fatness. We need to stop discriminating and judging people based on their body
size and shape. We need to discuss with each other and our children what true
beauty is. It is a daunting task to try and change a culture, however, we can
start by making changes in our own minds, homes, neighborhoods and schools. Every year the third Wednesday in May is Turn Beauty Inside Out Day (TBIO Day), an ongoing public education effort started in 2000 by New Moon: A Magazine for Girls and their Dreams (www.newmoon.org). The goal of this program is to expand definitions of beauty from outer to inner beauty. For more information go to: http://blogs.newmoon.com/mind-on-the-media/files/2011/04/2009-Action-Kit.pdf
ideas to celebrate inner beauty:
negative comments about your or anyone else’s body.
people what you admire about them. For example, their strength, courage or
Make cards for friends/family telling them why you think they are beautiful.
are beautiful because:
time to have a good long conversation with your family about what is beautiful
about each member:
letters to the editors of magazines and newspapers about inner beauty.
a mobile with affirmations of why you are beautiful.
movies, TV programs and advertisements about girls and women.
each person you see today what you appreciate about them.
the above ideas will get us thinking about inner beauty and will eventually
trickle throughout our society so that one day people will be free of body
disparaging thoughts and actions. Maybe then we won’t have eating disorders
and self-image concerns and we can concentrate on having fun and living our
lives to the fullest. I hope you enjoy celebrating your inner beauty and decide
to celebrate not only on May 16, but every day.
Size & Weight Discrimination, Inc., P.O. Box 305, Mt. Marion, NY 12456
Mind on the Media, www.tbio.org
New Moon Publishing, www.newmoon.org
Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, www.www.nationaleatingdisorders.org