Beauty is a Beast of Burden: Who is Responsible ?

In her article, “Fat Studies,” Wann discusses the way that overweight people, especially women, are discriminated against in our society. I am particularly sensitive to this issue because I was bullied as a youngster for being overweight. Recently, as an outreach intern for a preteen webzine, I met girls who were suffering the same type of social ostracism that had I had endured (http://www.fitsmi.com).  Although there might be differences in region, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, we were all keenly aware of our failure to live up to the physical ideal and left with a sense of social undesirability.

Failure to meet the physical ideal has led to an increasing rate of body dissatisfaction, depression, and eating disorders among young women in our country. However, the emphasis on weight persists for females in spite of the emotional toll that it takes. Women continue to pressure themselves to meet an unrealistic standard by obsessively dieting, exercising, and undergoing cosmetic procedures. Doesn’t our poor self-acceptance inadvertently reinforce society’s  intolerance for body types that fall outside the norm? How can we model a healthy body image for the younger generation when we remain over focused on our own weight ? We wait for the world to alter its views of feminine beauty, but what will it take for this change to start from within ?

 

Wann, Marilyn. Foreword. The Fat Studies Reader. By Esther D. Rothblum and Sondra Solovay. New York: New York UP, 2009. Ix-Xxii. Print.

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