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Learning about The Beauty Myth and fat etc.

(56 Posts)
Sulis Sun 20-Jul-14 13:37:50

Hello smile I used to post here all the time - FlamingoBingo for anyone who remembers me!

I'm on a mission to truly, unconditionally love my body - initially motivated by having four daughters who I want not to internalise The Beauty Myth. So I have my books piled by my bed:

The Beauty Myth I'm half-way through.
Fat is a Feminist Issue
Susie Orbach on Eating

I'm reading fantastic blogs like Dances with Fat.

I'm finding inspiration from articles like this about allowing yourself to be photographed for your children and this about not refusing to wear a swimsuit to play with your kids on the beach.

FWIW I'm a size 12/14, 5'1". I lost a load of weight a couple of years ago but have put it all back on. I dance at least twice a week and am fairly fit and very healthy.

Anyone else want to talk about this? What are you doing to support your daughters' body image? What work on your own issues are you having to do? How's it working for you? Have you got any body-love inspiring resources to share?

however Mon 28-Jul-14 05:01:20

I always feel the 'everything in moderation' mantra to be a bit of a cop out, but in the case of food, it's what we try to live by. My 'moderation' is probably different to others' though.

At 45 I am fitter and healthier than I've ever been. Even though I've always been a healthy weight. It's just that getting older, I'm beginning to see what long periods of benign neglect can do. I have a MIL in her 60s riddled with osteoporosis, and a brother who is now diabetic (though he doesn't actually look that overweight. I also had a step-brother who died suddenly at the age of 49, the result of 30 years of just not caring much about his health or diet. He left behind a wife and 3 kids. My own grandmother was in awful health because she didn't eat properly - she was at the other end of the scale - skin and bone. She had a loooooong life. But was virtually bedridden for the last 15 years of it. And it's my personal view (based on nothing at all, really!) that you really need to get your shit together between the ages of about 40 and 55 and try to be as healthy as you can so you'll have a reasonably pleasant old age.
Healthspan vs Lifespan

That said, I didn't give that much of a shit when I was younger, but I hope some of what I'm doing rubs off.

As far as the feminism angle is concerned, I'm much more vocal about the unattainable images we're bombarded with - flawless skin, pert little arses etc, and I take every opportunity I can to remind my kids that they're not real.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 25-Jul-14 14:54:44

Huffington Post regularly has some great articles on health and body image too...daughters and body image

Morphine - there is a step between hating and loving your body, which is acceptance and respect. You need to be 'in' your body and working with it, rather than judging, criticising, depriving. It is pretty impossible to hate and punish a body into being something you love...yes, you may lose weight that way, but you won't suddenly, when you reach your target fitness/weight, love it.

MorphineDreams Fri 25-Jul-14 14:20:20

This is really interesting.

I don't love my body, and I don't want to either otherwise I wouldn't be spurred on to lose weight and get fitter whilst I'm at it.

I do however want to be happy with how I look, like my face. Because I can't change that and I don't want surgery.

Sleepwhenidie Fri 25-Jul-14 14:15:00

Sorry - first two links got combined then Psychology of Eating

Sleepwhenidie Fri 25-Jul-14 13:21:03

Sulis well done on starting such a great thread. I am passionate about this subject too, not just because I have a DD (and 2 DS's) but also for myself and the intense suffering so many people go through because of poor body image - and that is very often regardless of the reality of their bodies. I have been working on my own body image for some time and it is a tough process... like some pp's grew up with a dieting mum and judgemental comments from other family members about my (and other people's) body. I am so interested in the whole subject of food, weight, body image and diets that I recently trained as an Eating Psychology Coach.

Highland - you say you have dieted for 30 of your 40 years as if it is rare, sadly it really isn't! It is amazing how eternally convinced we are about how effective diets really are ie. not at all! Congratualtions on finding freedom, what triggered it for you?

Seven - you are so lucky to have escaped the poor body image 'not enough' trap smile. What was your upbringing like with regards to food, bodies, exercise? I think that is often the key to attitudes later on, although sometimes, no matter how great the message is at home, we can succumb later as Scallops describes sad.

In terms of resources, for a start I would recommend

Beyond Chocolate blog)[[ Institute for the Psychology of Eating, lots so free videos and articles

LookPositive particularly aimed at teenage girls

Isabel Foxen Duke

and me - but my blog is early days yet!

DadWasHere Fri 25-Jul-14 01:33:40

They tend to have measurements along with their charts, it's really not that difficult.

Your right, at least for ASOS, digging further I see they went quite a distance beyond what a lot of online resellers do for size guides.

Darkesteyes Thu 24-Jul-14 23:28:11

King the lies you told on your threads which I c and pd into the same linked thread above coupled with the "advice" you gave that poster didn't sit too well together.

YOU DO NOT know how tall she is, YOU CAN NOT see her.

Sorry but im calling MRA!!!

CaptChaos Thu 24-Jul-14 22:45:38

They tend to have measurements along with their charts, it's really not that difficult.

DadWasHere Thu 24-Jul-14 22:26:21

And, exactly what bearing does her dress size have on anything?

If I understand what people in the UK think her size is we can order things from ASOS. We dont live in the UK and online store size conversion tables seem to be as good as numbers drawn out of a hat.

King1982 Thu 24-Jul-14 13:07:43

Darkesteyes - what has that got to do with this thread? I dont feel a response from me or any other poster holds much weight when it comes to medical issues.
I feel someone size 18 could lose 3 stones healthily.
I bow down to your dieting advice though. I know you lost 10 stone

CaptChaos Thu 24-Jul-14 09:03:47

And, exactly what bearing does her dress size have on anything?

Do you normally ask women what size their clothing is? What is their reaction when you do?

DadWasHere Thu 24-Jul-14 03:31:36

Question, since I am not fully aware of UK sizing, from the Dances With Fat blog that Sulis linked, what would be others estimation of this womans size if she were 5 foot 1. I would say full size 18.

Darkesteyes Thu 24-Jul-14 01:09:43

King you advised the OP on this thread to lose 3 or 4 stone even though
a, you don't know how tall she is.
b. she had already explained the weight wasn't the first excuse he used.

weatherall Wed 23-Jul-14 23:42:19

Welcome back, OP.

I recognise your old name.

I used to be here a lot too but was gone for ages.

Am back now, wanting to kickass again!

Re: body hating, I think we see women being hated through all sorts of avenues in society. It's so universal we don't even 'see' it most of the time. I think a lot of this manifests in self hate of the part of ourselves we can see ie our bodies. Does that make sense?

Re: my dd's body image I try to balance telling her she looks good/beautiful with praising her for other things like achievements/being nice/being strong etc.

She wears dresses but I don't treat her like a doll or dress her in clothes that would restrict her movement. I tell her clothes are for comfort and practicality not to 'look pretty'.

She has long hair but it's tied back simply most of the time. I have let her put nail varnish on but not made a big deal about it. She is too young to have a lot of chats about body image but I imagine I'll encourage her to be healthy and that that will make here look 'good'.

MeganChips Wed 23-Jul-14 10:27:04

This is something I do worry about for DD.

I live a reasonably active and healthy lifestyle but I am counting calories to lose some weight at the moment, as is DH. I gained 20lbs, nothing fits me, I feel tired and unfit and have a family propensity towards type 2 diabetes. I am now halfway to my goal but it will be a few more weeks of this then eating carefully to make sure I don't regain.

DD knows what I'm doing and I do try not to ever comment negatively on my body and say I'm trying to lose weight for health reasons but she always wants to know what calories are in things and if they're healthy. It makes me feel like I'm treading a dangerous path even though I never discuss these things with her. I occasionally discuss with DH.

I think I need to be more careful to hide it from her completely even though I have always been very specific that it's for health reasons, not looks.

I'm not too sure how to handle it. She's very slim and active and I want her to focus on being healthy and strong rather than anything more negative.

museumum Wed 23-Jul-14 09:39:28

It is my experience that using your body in the way it evolved to be used leads to less objectifying of it and judging it by aesthetics and therefore less body hatred.

Apart from the morbidly obese and very physically disabled there is usually some kind of activity or sport or exercise you can do to get your blood flowing and heart rate up. I don't think weight/size matters UNLESS it stops you moving around comfortably. The vast majority of women who hate their bodies are either a healthy weight or mildly overweight rather than a weight that limits their activity.

Meglet Wed 23-Jul-14 06:46:49

You can go for a run and then eat chocolate you know. I do. That's the whole idea, a balanced lifestyle.

combust22 Wed 23-Jul-14 06:19:41

I don't suggest for one moment that any woman should hate their bodies.

I do however see the discomfort and health risks that obesity brings. I am not condoning obesity- it is the single biggest health risk to the Western world.
Yes women should accept themselves- my body is far from perfect, but not all of the negative issues surrounding obesity are media made.

I have several friends who are obese, and i don't see them as particularly happy. Some of this is media led, but others seem to be plain health issues. Varicose veins, chafing, unable to walk very far or climb stairs, breathlessness, as well as the myriad of health issues that obese people will encounter as they get older.

By all means love your curves, but surely obesity is a health issue?

itsbetterthanabox Wed 23-Jul-14 00:22:49

Combust. But why would what you are saying mean that other women who are heavier than you should hate their bodies? This thread is about not disliking your body no matter what your shape. You like your lifestyle and that's great but that doesn't mean other people should hate their own. Low self esteem and body hatred doesn't make you healthy��

combust22 Tue 22-Jul-14 23:01:21

museum- I agree. I love feeling fit and healthy. It's the energy that being fit brings that I love. I am in my 50s, have exercised most of my adult life and do 6/7 hours of hard exercise a week. I am a size 10 and have never dieted, although I enjoy healthy food. I have no hang ups about my body. It serves me well, but needs the care in order for me to have it working well.
My DD is 14, she does 4 hours of gym at school and 13 hours of hard dancing classes out of school. She eats to hunger, like me prefers healthy food, and is a good weight- slim but very muscular.

For me it's not about body shape, it's about being able to easily run 5 miles, to jump around on the trampoline with my kids, to have races on the beach,, to climb trees, to easily lift heavy things, to run upstairs 2 at a time, not to be afraid to try new activities.

Part of that is keeping fit and yes slim, because if I carried a few extra stones around I would not be able to live the energy filled life that I love.

museumum Tue 22-Jul-14 21:10:00

sulis - I'm interested in why you are wary about encouraging sport? I don't have any DDs (ds only) but dh and I are pretty passionate about sport for physical and mental health. We are both prone to overweight but I think we both have a good attitude to our bodies. I care a LOT more about feeling fit and powerful than about how I look in a swimsuit. I take my ds swimming and have done since he was 12 weeks and I was all post-partum and breast feeding shaped smile
For me, sport and exercise make me feel good about my body's capabilities and not care much about its aesthetics.

SevenZarkSeven Tue 22-Jul-14 21:02:48

I think the aim isn't to say stop having articles about being healthy >>> start having articles saying go on be fat

I think it's to stop internalising the constant messages to women and girls that they are inadequate physically and as physical appearance is the most important thing about them they are inadequate full stop (increasingly boys and men which is no good either but still nowhere near the levels) and as feminists try and work towards a change in damaging social attitudes and media towards women. Stuff like how some mags have said they won't airbrush any more (did some say that? I think so) - that sort of thing is a good start.

ChanelCristalle Tue 22-Jul-14 20:57:33

I've just told my 12 year old that her body is a temple and not to throw any more chocolate mini rolls in to it.

I disapprove of all the waxing and threading and bleaching that women subject themselves too but I am kiiiiiiinda torn wrt weight. I don't want to read any articles that might make me feel it was ok to put on weight.

But saying that, I don't have a problem with my body. It has always done the job.

SevenZarkSeven Tue 22-Jul-14 20:53:15

The waist size thing reminds me of something that is relevant given this is feminist topic.

It was a couple of years ago and a couple of papers & BBC maybe had a headline saying something along the lines of "women with larger waists at risk" and the articles were all about how women who had "pear" shape bodies were less likely to get cardiovascular issues etc and they mooted whether this was to do with a protective effect of more female hormones or fat stored away from heart in bum & thighs etc etc etc.

Anyway the whole thrust was that women without a "classic" female shape of small waist wider hips were at risk because of their body shape.

The first thing I thought was well that's a bit shit as you can't change where on your body you store fat when you have any!

Then the next thing I thought was, that as an apple shape, my mum once described me as having a "male distribution of fat". Which makes sense, apple women put on weight around their middles not their hips and arse which is what most men do.

So about these articles, I thought what they actually meant was that apple women and teh vast majority of men are at a disadvantage as they put weight around their middles not their arses.

And then I got really pissed off, because men weren't mentioned in any of the articles at all. It was all about women being this shape, that shape, right shape, wrong shape. In big capital letters. And all of the men? Not a mention.

So spotting the media bias and kind of making sure you note it can help. As it's invariably women. Like when they have a "OMG people are getting fat" story the accompanying picture / film clip almost always shows fat women / fat women's bottoms. I think things are getting a bit more even with that, they occasionally show a man with tummies eating chips now but for years and still most of the time now a story about the nation getting fatter will be accompanied by a picture of a woman.

Rant over smile

King1982 Tue 22-Jul-14 20:16:59

Sulis - there is plenty of evidence linking waste size to illnesses that cause death. Why do you think that everyone hates exercise? That simple isn't the case, many people enjoy sports/exercise. Plus, not everyone likes eating chocolate or fast food.
Many people are happy to be overweight. That's great. I think that if it was as easy to stay thin as it was to put on weight, then the vast majority would choose to be thin.
Most people can control their. I think fear and knowledge are different things.
I think that overweight is considered to be less attractive, as is baldness in males.

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