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Posts Tagged ‘body image’

       Oprah has been discussing her frustration with her recent weight gain over the last two years.  This has been an ongoing problem for Oprah (and many others as well) year after year.  Weight gain/weight loss cycles are hard on the body and even harder on the psyche.  No one needs to pile on the negative comments…because the person going through it beats up on themselves enough!  That is part of the struggle.

        The thing is…the up and down roller coaster ride is not one that most people willingly “decide” to get  on.  One day they have struggled to gain control and lose the weight.  They have focussed on the issues at hand and have overcome the struggle. 

          Then, before they know it…they go on about their daily lives and boom…they find themselves back in a position of being overweight and out of shape.  Because in the course of living…they have gone back to old patterns of lifestyle; because, it is easy to slip back into the comfortable way of doing things, without even realizing that you are doing it.

         The thing is…being overweight is a bit of an addictive problem.  Whether it be smoking, drugs, alcohol or sexual addiction; eating too much is a food addiction…food is tied into holidays and traditions, lifestyle, emotional rewards and punishments; as well as, behavioral patterns. 

            Eating sensibly has to be combined with a proper amount of physical exercise to balance the nurtritional needs equal to the calorie burn to achieve a maintained weight.   If you eat more calories than you burn…the weight accumulates.  Health issues start to arise and you feel less like exercising.  It becomes a vicious cycle…one that must be stopped before serious health issues affect the person in  the quality of their life.

            In reading comments that some posters have left on the news websites that ran with the story about Oprah’s weight issues…there were those who were supportive and those who were not. 

          Those who were not…tended to be supremely over-critical about her weight, her money, her media savy as well as her political alliances.  Those who were supportive expressed compassion for her and her battle.  Many had been through it themselves in the past or were also in an ongoing situation with their weight.  It makes her real and approachable because often times, the public views celebrities as people who have it all at their fingertips…someone people often put on a pedastal.

           It is a bit frustrating when you think about all of the shows that Oprah has done about weight loss, healthy dieting, lifestyle changes, cooking healthy meals and snacks only to still be in the same position years later.  She is not the only person to do so though.   

            It is a bit discouraging to think that someone who has “all the money in the world” to hire chefs, personal assistants, personal shoppers, and dieticians is still unable to keep it all together in the weight loss department.  That makes those viewers who have less money and resources, who struggle with weight management,  feel less able to be in control.  In reality, a person who struggles with weight issues is in the same predictament no matter how much money they have.  Their self confidence and body image play a big part in their ability to control their weight. 

            Like it or not, Oprah has built a following through years of hard work on her television show as well as her movies and publishing ventures.  Oprah has developed what most business people and marketers are dying to figure out how to procure…it is called customer or viewer loyalty.  This is a great tool to help both Oprah and her viewers to encourage one another and motivate one another in reaching their goals and maintaining them.

            There are those critics who say that Oprah overshares information about her life…and maybe that is true and maybe it isn’t…but, when you stop and think about it…Oprah knows herself well.  Maybe by speaking her version of personal truth and honesty about her weight…it is her way of holding herself accountable once again.  I for one, wish her luck and good health!

           

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       It appears that since this season of Dancing With The Stars has begun that dancing pro Cheryl Burke has been getting criticized for gaining some weight.  Today on several television programs Cheryl voiced her shock and discomfort with viewers who felt that they had a right to criticize her appearance.  Some of the questions she faced even went so far as to ask if she was several months pregnant.  Other comments were just plain rude and were meant to make her feel bad about her appearance. Her skills were not being questioned…just her appearance.

        Cheryl took off the summer to work on getting her dance studio opened.  While she was off from her normal schedule…she says that she gained about 5 pounds.  Some of the comments that Cheryl heard were very hurtful to her.  She said that the comments online and in tabloids were very in her face and she could not avoid hearing about them.  She said it caused her heartache and made her cry.  When she is on DWTS she is dancing approximately 7 hours a day.  Going without that regular schedule is what caused her to gain the extra pounds.

        Even though Cheryl said that she is comfortable in her own skin and has always been curvy since she hit puberty…those hurtful comments definately affected her.   She said, even with the weight gain..she is still able to fit into her size 4 costumes for the show. 

        I think it is unfortunate that people would feel it necessary to write in to her or about her weight gain.  I think as a society we are becoming conditioned by constant exposure to multi-media venues viewing celebrities and models who are setting a poor example of what is a healthy weight for their bone structure or frame.

         Americans are on a national trend heading towards obesity and that needs to be curbed.  However, we need to educate people not attack them.  Cheryl, as a size 4, is by no means hugely overweight.  As she stated on the television interviews…now that she is back regularily training in her dance routines…she is loosing the weight gain naturally.  She has no intention of going on some radical, unhealthy diet that will appease her critics.  I applaude her for that.  She has a healthy self-esteem and it comes across.

         Shorter stature women, who have the physical characteristic of being short- waisted, tend to show any amount of weight gain quite quickly.  I think, that combined with the television cameras ability to add 10 lbs to a person’s appearance and skimpy costumes that expose many of a womans trouble spots to the camera lense has put an unfair spotlight on Cheryl.  She is a beautiful woman who is talented and active. 

        Those who are quick to judge her, by the weight gain, should take care how they voice their opinion.  None of us would be too willing to trade places with her and be the person who is being judged.  There are few of us who would wish someone we care about to be judged by this same harsh standard.  What kind of an impact does it have on our young people to pick at someone’s appearance because they have gained a minimal amount of weight?  We have far too many people who struggle around the world with their body image; and because of that, they often develop eating disorders such as bulimia/anorexia.  This is a very serious blackmark on our culture.  Do you think it is fair for people to publically chastize Cheryl for her weight gain?  Has someone else’s opinion of you negatively impacted your self-esteem?

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       Ok, here we go…a few months ago, i heard about a lawsuit on one of the ABC news programs between Mattel, the makers of the Barbie doll empire, and MGA Entertainment, Inc the makers of the Bratz doll line.  The issue seemed to spring from Mattel’s allegation that the designer Carter Bryant was working for them when he came up with the concept for the Bratz doll line; and therefore, they felt that it infringed upon their copyright since he was under contract to them at the time of the design; the jury seemed to agree.

         The jury awarded Mattel $100 million dollars in compensation today.  Wowie…that would pay for a whole lot of Barbie cars, Barbie swimming pools and certainly alot of Barbie mansions.   Now that $100 million, was nowhere near the amount that Mattel was seeking; it was more in the area of $1Billion dollars that they felt MGA should owe them with the success of the Bratz dolls,  toys and other assorted items MGA endorsed with the Bratz line. 

          I don’t know if you have ever seen the Bratz dolls but their heads are large…and they wear exceedingly seductive outfits and they have long hair and heavy makeup on these dolls.  They are very sensualized dolls that have been marketed to young girls and preteen girls as the heighth of fashion dolls.  In comparison, Barbie has been a mainstay in the toy market for years..but, since the sales began on the Bratz line…Barbie sales have fallen.  The competition seemed to pit the “good girl image” with the “bad girl image”…what image do you think young girls in a hurry to grow up wanted mom and dad to buy them?  Their choices are influenced by the things they see in our culture as “grown up”.   With growing concerns about body image and a healthy attitude towards their self concept…we need to understand the connection that takes place in a child’s world view and how that affects their emotional development! 

           Teaching young girls to value their bodies as something more than window dressing to get attention used to be the norm; that is no longer true.  Experts have been dealing with an increased awareness that young women are not happy with their bodies and will go to extremes to try to achieve the “look” that is in vogue.  We have young women (and young men) who are tortured with anorexia, who are struggling with obesity, who pay for plastic surgery to get their bodies to fit a certain mold, putting foreign substances such as botox into their bodies, breast augmentation, etc.   Educating them to the truth that the images they see in magazines and on television are adjusted with the magic of photo retouching and airbrushing techniques…that no-one has a perfect face or figure.  It is time to stop and teach young people the importance of self acceptance.  Stop allowing them to think that they don’t measure up to someone else’s standards of what is the ideal.

           We really need to examine the culture that we expose our children to from magazine articles, to television shows, to media advertising, to fashionable clothing lines that seem to say it is ok to dress our young girls in clothing meant for older teens or young adult women.  Everything is sexualized or sensual in it’s design…this marketing technique needs to be addressed.  We are allowing this, when we purchase these types of products for our children and then wonder why behaviors seem so out of synch with the type of behaviors that should be appropriate to their ages.

           Parents are the ultimate stop gap for their children…it is their money, for the most part, which purchases these items.  If we raise the bar on what we expose our children to…then, the industries that our dollars support will have to adapt to the demand for a more traditional age appropriate level of decency in the children’s clothing, toys, accessories, music, television programing, advertising, etc. 

            In an age where we try to protect our children from predators on the streets, in our schools and in every other area of life; we need to understand that if we send the children mixed messages about what is appropriate role modeling; how can we expect them to know when someone inappropriately crosses the line in their conduct?  Children learn their boundaries from the adults in their lives who set limits…so we need to re-examine how we condition our children by the choices that we make. 

            Children may still want the Bratz dolls over the Barbie dolls…who knows…children don’t always know what is in their best interests; however, the adults who care for them should know…shouldn’t they?

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