Dieting and being thin has been the desired and enforced goal for women for the past hundred years. Feminists would somewhat disagree with that statement, but they would agree that in our patriarchal society, a woman is implicitly told that to be noticed and considered successful, she must look a certain way, which always includes thinness. This is implied for men also.
Who is to blame for these ideals? Men? The Advertising and fashion industries? There is no denying that large corporations influence perception. However, the responsibility lies in our own hands. We see each other as more attractive when thinner.
It’s ingrained in our attraction levels. I remember my mother trying on 20 different outfits, turning this way and that way, looking at her bum in the mirror and the reason why that particular outfit wasn’t good enough is because she looked “fat” in it. And what is “fat”? Objectively, it is a cellular compound, after all.
The core of the issue may be more clear than the reasons why individuals continue today to have problems with eating, manifesting in strange diets and fitness addictions. The huge contributing factor in the difficulty in recovering from eating disorders can be explained by the very essence of beauty ideology ingrained in our society. And with the powerful social media movement, #Bodygoals has never been more difficult to escape.
Before it was diet pills, which were essentially amphetamines, but with the death of Marilyn Monroe – people moved away from substance aided dieting. Interestingly, now the phenomenon is masking itself in dietary fads, (other than for ethical or medical reasons), such as veganism, ‘gluten free’ and ‘no carbs’. Are people just fooling themselves into thinking they are being ‘healthy’ but really are continuing a hundred year old distorted attitude individuals have with their bodies?
There is no denying that eating a diet rich in vitamins makes one feel more energised. However, there is also now a unwritten rule that if you eat a burger from a fast food place you are a dirty human being. We are placing even higher standards on ourselves as people in the world.
When are we going to be good enough for ourselves and for each other?