|Day 18 - A Picture of Your Biggest Insecurity|
Barbara Kruger, Your Body is a Battleground, 1989
I really wish that I could honestly say there was something else I could put, but it wouldn’t be truthful. It seems body parts are somewhat of a theme for everyone on day 18 of this challenge. My body may be my biggest insecurity, but I find it interesting that it is also the most common insecurity among women. It is a battleground for us all. Why is that? Why is there such a theme with this question? We tend to think at times ours is a personal problem and we are alone in this, but we really aren’t. There is a reason that the diet industry takes in over 40 million dollars a year. Statistics show girls today are more afraid of being fat than they are of cancer, nuclear war, or losing their parents. Doesn’t that say something? The average age that young girls start to diet today is 8. I think this is very alarming, especially as a parent. Insecurity begets dieting which begets eating disorders which beget insecurities. A cycle emerges. I think it is tragic that there are so many people unsatisfied with their appearance to the point that they will subject themselves to self-inflicted pain, starvation, and/or punishment---that there are people with so many different eating disorders mirrored with all of the hunger and starvation already in the world. It appears we are all starving for something. It seems so absurd when you look at it that way, doesn’t it? Most commercial slots bombard you with relentless diet pills, drinks, or fads. We are shown about 100 different pieces of equipment to work 100 different parts of our bodies. We are urged to order now to look just like this shirtless, ripped man, or that scantily clad size 0 girl. We are inundated with suggestions to shrink it, shave it, tan it, peel it, buff it and grow it. This is our greatest insecurity? Yes, it makes me feel shallow. Yes, it makes me feel superficial. Why is it such an issue for so many? Why are we “taught” to hate our bodies? Why do many women seem more concerned with their weight gain or the possibility of stretch marks or cellulite than anything else during pregnancy? Human creation is a heavy burden---it’s bound to leave some foot prints. Why does society practically encourage women to be ashamed of their “motherly” bodies? Our bodies are complex enough to create human life and tough enough to expel it into this world---we women need to take more pride in that. We are obsessed with retaining our youthful bodies, even as we age. This plight does not affect only women; many men suffer from body image issues and eating disorders as well. There is an immense amount of pressure for men to also be an ideal body type, but how did we all get this way? Why are we so concerned with our looks? Why are we so obsessed with the outside appearance of these vessels and not what truly lies within---what really matters? Why are we all so superficial? Are we pressured by the media or the industry? Are we pressured by each other? Are we pressured by ourselves? It’s quite the conundrum. It’s also a vicious cycle for most. Weight issues aside, there are more battles with the body that people struggle with. Simply striving to be healthy and fit is a battle all its own. People are all insecure about their bodies for different reasons. Has our world tainted the mind’s relationship with and perception of the body so much that very few people can truly enjoy theirs with no doubts? Whatever the case, the majority of the population seems to have a negative body image.
Honestly, though, if worrying about what we look like or what others think we look like is our greatest “fear” in this life, then I think we’re all pretty well off. Why is the majority of America overly concerned with looks, though? Is it because we don’t have anything better to do or anything more serious to worry about? Is it evolution? Has the once animalistic fear or possibility of being eaten or otherwise eliminated by a predator been replaced by the fear of shame and social ridicule for physical appearances? Surely this has to be a difficult kind of stress for our animal bodies to comprehend and process. Does the trouble actually stem from our desire for unity? While striving for this unity, do we all start to desire to be the same? Are we destined to become “Stepford”-like copies of each other? Just some of my questions and/or thoughts. Any?
I say society needs to learn a healthier way to enjoy and celebrate our differences. Some are tall and skinny, some are short and curvy, and that is okay. Some are black, some are white. Some are bumpy and some are lumpy. Some are hairy---some are bald. There is no “perfect” and trying to attain perfection is a futile and tiring battle fought between yourself and impossibility. There isn’t one form---there are all forms. Bodies are meant to be different, just like the snow flakes. We should all strive to be healthy, not sexy, and we should work to attain our own idea of acceptable---for ourselves. Truthfully, why should you give a shit what anyone else thinks about you, anyway? Be happy with yourself---you’re not here to please them. Besides, if people happen to have a problem with your appearance, then isn’t their real problem with themselves?
["A Picture of Your Biggest Insecurity" originally posted to Facebook Mar. 15, 2011]