I’ve seen many text posts, articles, etc, around the web, and I’ve also heard the subject discussed by people in everyday life. That is: the subject of body image. It’s a well-known fact that many people—both women and men—struggle with their physical appearances. For many, this issue started when they were children, and it’s carried on as the years have passed. And then of course, you have all the highschoolers—and even those younger—who are concerned about having to meet a certain ideal in how they look.
I’m going to address this mainly from a personal standpoint—primarily because that’s the only way I really know. I do understand that everyone’s story and experiences are different; I’m just using myself for this because, frankly, this is my blog post, so I should be able to. I do what I want! But… that’s getting off track. Sorry. Anyway, as an insecure teenager, I had a lot of body issues. Not as many, perhaps, as some people, but I know it was a big deal for me. My parents were great in this area; they always told my sisters and me that we were beautiful as we were, and I wasn’t exposed to a lot of peer pressure because I was homeschooled. Even though we didn’t watch a lot of television or movies growing up, we did watch a fair bit. And somehow, through all of that, I started subconsciously comparing myself to others. It really wasn’t until one day when I was about… eh, 21-ish that I realized what I had been doing for years. I was looking at an outfit in the mirror, and my mind spit out the thought, “Wow, if I lost some of my tummy and got bigger *here* and *here* then I would look like [character] in this outfit!”
(Okay, okay, fine. It was Ziva. I was in an NCIS kick at the time, okay?)
Aaaanyyyway, that was when it kind of hit me that I was comparing myself to a celebrity. It was honestly something I had never thought I did, and I was slightly shocked at myself. I immediately reprimanded myself for the foolishness and the illogical thinking of doing so. And yes, as “Spock” as that sounds, I’m a very logical, literal person most of the time. To me, it was horrifying to do something I’d always known was wrong to do. The problem was that while I knew it on a head-knowledge level, it’s sometimes hard to make the rest of my mind obey that head-knowledge.
Since then, I’ve gotten a little better about this issue. Now that I know I have the problem of comparing my body to others’, even if it is on a subconscious level, I’m able to stop myself most of the time when I catch my thoughts going in that direction. I still have a ways to go, because I tend to call myself fat a lot when I look in the mirror. But hey, I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be! Right?
As I’ve thought about the topic lately though, especially the more I find out about different actresses and actors and such, I’ve realized that a lot of the problem that we entertainment consumers experience in regards to our bodies is that the people playing the roles of teens and young adults on our screens are not appropriately cast in regards to their ages. For example—and I want to make sure I state that this post isn’t against any one actor or actress in particular. It’s more against the Hollywood industry as a whole—I was looking at something about the original The Sound of Music and the girl who played Liesl was 23 when she was cast. And then other people who play the kids in well-known roles, such as Glee, and The Hunger Games, just to name a couple, are all older than their characters, usually by 5+ years. And while not everyone is this way, some kids aren’t fully, er, developed when they’re 15 and 16. Personally—and sorry to any guys reading this if it’s TMI—but I was a size A cup when I was 16. And even then, it didn’t even fit me that well until I was more like 17 (I just needed something when I was 14ish). I think I got to B when I was about 20. I didn’t really have any hips or backside at that point, but I kind of stopped… growing, when I was about there, but when I hit 23 earlier this year, my body seemed to decide it wanted to sprout out in different directions all of a sudden. In the past 9 months, I’ve had to go up a pant size and I’m about to have to move up to a C cup size.
So, at least in my case, these actresses who are 23, 24, or 25 but playing 16 year olds are already kind of grown out, and that gave me a wrong idea of a normal body. I saw these people on the screen, and somewhere in my mind, it made me think that I should be that size as well, and that something was wrong since I wasn’t.
And then there’s the whole issue of weight, although that’s another can of worms. I’ve always been heavier than my siblings (they all got the skinny genes from my mom’s side of the family, and I got my dad’s heavy, broad genes), and I have trouble losing weight for a medical reason. So yeah… that is another issue I’ve had to manage throughout my life since so many other people—especially those at whom I’m always looking when I watch stuff—are much thinner.
So that’s my two cents on the subject. Thanks for reading if you made it this far! Haha But really, I think it’s a bit wrong for Hollywood to put this one particular ideal out there for girls when that ideal might not even be something they can physically achieve at the age they are. Just some food for thought.
Fandom is, essentially, the collective refusal of thousands of people accross the world to be passive about the media they are exposed to.
I just wish people from the outside would realize how great it truly is.
Wow. That is a brilliant way of describing it. Thank you for providing me with a suitable retort when someone mocks me for being involved in fandom.
I got my phone, along with my number, in April, and I’m still getting calls for the guy who must have had it before me. These have ranged from companies who (illegally) told me the guy cosigned as security for someone, the guy’s bank, his insurance company, and even his friends and family! (I think he must have gone into Witness Protection or something.) His sister actually refused to believe me when I explained to her that it wasn’t his. “Listen, I’m his sister. He wouldn’t change numbers without telling me!” Um, sorry honey, but he must have.