Conversations around body imaging can be tough. We’re mostly too embarrassed to go there, but when we do we list the reasons we’ve decided we’re not good enough, and that as we age we will be less and less so. We futilely feel we must either undergo body-altering procedures or, be defeatedly resigned to our perception of ourselves as looking old, tired, flat-chested / droopy breasted, frumpy, or whatever. While everyone around us looks FABULOUS of course; even when fabulous is actually $10,000 + worth of plastic surgery.
As tough as it can be to allow ourselves to be vulnerable I think we need to bravely start talking about it. The Celebrate Your Breasts Project intends to inspire women (and men) to address body image issues.
The ‘elephant in the room’ is the power of the media and the LIE that we are not enough as we are. We have given the media the power to tell us what we should look like – but, at what price?
The current trend of so many women undergoing breast augmentation (hundreds of thousands each year), caving to media pressures, is merely the mode of self-rejection du jour. Looking back through decades reveals a pattern of self-rejection on a societal scale, changing with the flavour of the decade.
When a pre-pubescent looking Twiggy arrived on the fashion scene in the 60’s women began to try to look like her. Unrealistic and unsustainable, except through starvation and/or bulimia, women went to these extremes to conform. To fit in. To try to look like the media representation of what it was to be stylish. As Twiggy matured even she didn’t look like ‘Twiggy’.
The Jane Fonda years … eating disorders coupled with excessive exercise and prescription diet pills.
Heroin-chic, with models that are skin and bone, and look like death-warmed-over. All of the above, coupled with hard core street drugs (another huge way people self-reject and is at epidemic levels).
The music video era. Everyone wanting to be non-stop ‘sexy’ and mad obsession with large, fake breasts.
Even the health & fitness industry, where so many industry icons (and lesser knowns) have toxic breast implants and botox. Even the ideal of ‘healthy’ has become contrived and dangerous. Fitness magazines feature surgically altered and digitally edited women (and men). Health conscious women implanting toxic devices while reading labels to make sure they’re not eating anything that isn’t organic.
Decades of self-rejection, layer upon layer. From one generation to the next.
Each year it becomes more and more extreme. Women feeling the pressure fit in are pursuing ever more invasive, expensive and dangerous cosmetic surgeries. Caving to the pressures to compete with an unrealistic and unsustainable media ideal.
In conversations with women about body imaging its evident how much pressure they feel. Most admit to at least having considered resorting to cosmetic (and other) procedures. Many have taken the plunge.
But, the truth is it’s not really about breast size, weight, body type, age, or anything else. We’re ‘hooked’ into believing the LIE that we’re somehow not enough because deep inside we already believe it. I hope we’ll find the courage to address the ‘elephant in the room’. Surgically altering a body part, starving ourselves, or self-medicating won’t increase our innate worth, or wellbeing. I think in the end most of us end up wishing we’d learned to love ourselves sooner.