“Please do not be fooled by all the hype to be thin like many of the celebrities. Their anorexic/bulimic behavior has forced many of them to be hospitalized. Eating Disorders are not glamorous, Get Help now!” It’s hard to be any more straightforward than this headline on a website offering treatment options for eating disorders. Throughout history people have held onto opinions on what is considered “beautiful” or “attractive”. In 2013 there seems to be a strong effort in the world, not just the United States, to help people become more aware of Eating Disorders and to balance our view of health and beauty.
At the start of 2013, Israel announced a new law on “too skinny models”. The law, approved last March by Israel’s legislating Knesset, requires models to prove they have maintained a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 18.5 for three months prior to a fashion shoot or show. That means a woman who is 5’8” tall can weigh no less than 119 pounds. It also requires advertisers who thin out a model’s body with retouching software to make it clear that they have manipulated the images. This seems to be a movement toward strengthening the message that underweight models can no longer serve as role models for innocent young people who adopt and copy the illusion of thinness.
This week the Kenyans are voting in presidential election in a more democratic way than ever before. No longer can the politicians bus people to the areas that they want to get votes in. I heard this morning on the news that the people are lining up for 12 hours or more just to cast their individual vote! We as people value our individual input on significant issues. So even if laws are passed on models and even if new more rational beauty campaigns are launched in Hollywood, let’s ask ourselves what are we do as individuals to address the distorted views we have about body image.
Here is a challenge for you. This week think of some ways to focus on the issue of being kind to your amazing body and all it does for you. Also think of how you can truthfully compliment others around you in ways that bring out their personality – “Its always good to see your smile, Jane!” I know that we can make a difference in our own worlds and that will then reflect in even more global ways!
~Karen Gibbons, Director of Programs