Monday, June 16, 2008

How to look...

I've watched the show on and off for the last few weeks and it's not bad. Basically How to Look Good Naked takes a new woman every episode who hates her own body (with a gut wrenching passion) and shows her how to love it, just as it is - perhaps with a little bit of frosting by way of a better bra/hair do but essentially without an extreme makeover. Pretty good idea, huh?*

There are so many women who hate their bodies. I have never met one woman in my life who is completely at ease with her body. I don't even know OF any women who are completely at ease with their body actually. I do however know size 6 (I think that's size 0 in the US) women who complain they are fat, who live at the gym, who think their legs are fat. It's wrong. Perhaps one might be more accepting of their own body after years of dieting or after the extreme makeover like you see on the those TV shows but as a whole we women are very good at hating our bodies. I think the stats the show talks about is that 4 out of every 5 American women hate their body and people who we see in magazines are skinnier than 98% of us. It's really no wonder we have a problem with normality when what we compare ourselves to is completely unrealistic?

Know anyone with an eating disorder?
Ever had one yourself?

I'm guessing there would be a lot of yes answers to that - it's sad.

I think the biggest problem with all this is that hating your body means that:
1) you don't get out there and live your life.
2) you are more vulnerable to feeling less worthy than a magazine cover that has been airbrushed.
3) you feel like shit.
If 4 out of 5 women feels like that then wow, how easy would it be to keep us girls down? Pretty fucking easy. It's always easier to make people with low self worth feel even worse about themselves.

Easily my favourite part of the show is when the girl in question is asked to slot herself into a line of near naked ladies - in accordance to the size she thinks she is. Every woman's self image so far has been of herself being larger than she is. They slot themselves into the larger side. That says a lot about self perception.

Even if the girls were being modest during this and don't see themselves as large (even though they put themselves down the larger end of the line) it says a lot about how we women represent and view ourselves. If 4 out of every 5 women feel like crap because they're not good enough for some reason or another then 4 out of every 5 women are not big noting themselves, even when they do deserve it. I'm reminded of this:

Research in Linda Babcock’s 2004 book Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, found that 93 per cent of female graduates from a US university simply accepted the starting salaries they were offered in their first job, while more than half of the male graduates tried to negotiate up.

Is it any wonder this happens? 4 out of 5 women can't even look at themselves in the mirror, do you really think these same women are going to ask for a pay rise? Um, no. I'm not saying this is all due to hating our bodies but I do think that yes, it's all tied in with a greater feeling of unworthiness for us. Who knows where it really comes from originally (do we go back to Eve?), and who knows why we willingly adhere to it so readily by buying into the beauty myth time and again but yes, it exists, yes it's very real, yes it affects our everyday lives.

Probably though the biggest question I have coming out of the show How to Look Good Naked though is why it takes a gay man to tell us women to love ourselves? You'd think a woman would be willing to tell us because we should love ourselves, or perhaps the straight men who are supposed to love us for who we are could let us know. No? Not going to happen any time soon huh? Interesting.

In the meanwhile - while we all scramble to get our acts together. Thank you, Carson (and Gok Wan - also openly gay and hosted the original series) <3

* Honestly I've heard some people argue that this kind of show is horrible simply because we shouldn't let people believe that they are beautiful when they so obviously are not (ie: they are too fat and since fat is not beautiful by society's standrads then they shouldn't be allowed to love themselves because if they loved themselves then they wouldn't lose weight). This kind of argument disgusts me to no end.

On to music - Their first album Lesser Matters has been on constant rotation in my car over the last few weeks. I can't tell you how much I am loving this band lately. This song is particular makes me want to run through a valley of golden wild flowers for some reason. I have strange fantasies.

Where Damage Isn't Already Done - The Radio Dept.

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