Body Term Paper

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In today's society, there are women being controlled by expectations of being slim

and having that "perfect body". Women have to face the publicity of magazines, talk

shows concerning weight, weight-loss programs, and so on, all influencing them to lose

weight and be thin, or society won't accept them. Katherine Haines says just this in her

article, "Whose Body Is This?". She argues against and blames society for the

insecurities and the dissatisfaction of women and their bodies. The "look" that is

presented to women today as being "healthy" is; tall, slender, and beautiful. Most women

cannot reach this point unless they resort to other means of dieting to attain that "beauty

queen" image. These ways are through anorexia or bulimia, both of which are life

threatening or deadly. Unfortunately, there are many women taking this path.

Society plays a very important role when it comes to the image that a woman is

supposed to uphold. Haines states that weight loss programs, television and magazines

are a "propaganda that happiness is in a large part based on having that 'perfect

body'...". For example, one could be purchasing groceries and catch a glance of a recent

magazine such as "Elle" and they see this beautiful model on the cover. This is appealing

to a woman's or a man's eye, so of course they pick up the magazine and look inside.

They might think there is an article that reads, "How to look like a million dollars." Of

course there are many women who long to look like Cindy Crawford, or Kate Moss, so

the magazine is looked into. What does that say about women in society today? Many

models are portrayed as having that "perfect" life due to their looks because that's what

society's image of women has come to. It is a big competition with women in the

clothing world. They feel good about themselves if they have just the right styles. This

again, ties into the model scene. On the runway, clothes are being modeled by the

"perfect" woman. Tall, thin, and beautiful. This entices women to buy these types of

clothing, just as it is advertised to do. For most women, this look will not be possible

unless other means are incorporated.

The issue of weight doesn't begin in a lady's teenage years, as most think. It

begins in her young adolescence. Small children are very vocal with their feelings and

thoughts of other children around them. The words, "you are fat," could come out of a

child's mouth without them thinking twice about it. If that certain child was being

singled out in that way, could this be where it all begins? For example, Haines makes

some very interesting points when she speaks of her younger sister who is influenced by

her peers to be thin to fit in with the "right crowd." Her sister continually eats little to

nothing to have the perfect body to fit in with the rest of the girls on her school's drill

team. She eats very small portions of food, or none at all. During this time, she doesn't

realize the harm she is doing to her body until she becomes ill and is diagnosed as being

malnourished. There are too many instances of young teens putting their bodies through

this torture just to fit in. For instance, I have been around beauty pageants a great

deal in the past two years and have seen nothing but harm, not accomplishments from the

girls involved. I would say that eight out of every ten girls at these pageants had an

eating disorder. These girls, which were started out at a very young age, were anything

but pretty, they were sick. It was as if the older population, men and women, were

consenting to the harm that these girls were doing to their bodies, and their minds. The

girls were needing to take control of the crown, and to do so, they would do anything

possible to get it. They were slowly losing control of their minds, and their bodies were

suffering. In doing so, they didn't realize that the diseases they were facing would be

with them for the rest of their life, unless they were bold enough to admit that there was a

problem. That is where the problem with eating disorders comes in. Admitting that you

have a problem is the hardest and possibly the most embarrasing thing that any person

can do.

Low self-esteem, Haines argues, is one of the main parts of weight problems and

disbelief in yourself. Of course there are other factors that lead to the insecurity of being

overweight, although peer pressure is more and more evident as one passes through the

stages of adolescence and on into adulthood. Self esteem should be the issue society

focuses on instead what a woman looks like on the outside. The inside of a woman is

what gets a her, in most cases, to where she wants to be. Unless, of course, the lady's job

is consumed by the way her body looks.

There are many problems concerning the outlook on women in today's society,

but not enough will from women to make a change. We, as a society, need to come out

with the causes of the weight problem with the female body. Whether it be because the

women are dressing for the men, or if it is because they wish to show up other women.

The issue will not be resolved unless, in Haines' words, " This mixed message will never

give women the power they deserve over their bodies and will never enable them to make

their own decisions about what type of body they want." If women feel they are being

discriminated against because of their weight, or because they don't look "perfect", why

isn't something being done? We are going to see a loss in development and productivity

if the outlook on women and weight isn't solved.

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