An unReal Reality

6 Oct

This semester, I am taking an Honors Public Speaking class that has a concentration in speaking for humanitarianism. This past week, I delivered a talk to the class on the unrealistic image of women in the media because it has been something I have struggled with for the majority of my life and was a big part of why I used food and its restriction as my choice of coping mechanism. Here are a few of the points that I shared with the class:

  • On a personal level, I can remember being five years old in ballet class and believing that in my pink tights, my thighs looked much too fat to be a “real ballerina,” like the ones I saw on the movies. I also remember frequently pinching the “rolls” on my stomach or the imaginary jiggle on my legs and comparing myself to the other girls in the class, always convinced everyone else was thinner. I’m sure I am not the only little girl who struggled or is struggling with accepting herself. Many of the men in my audience came up and thanked me afterwards for sharing this story in my introduction because they have always worried about their daughters. Be aware of how impressionable young girls are and who in your life could be berating themselves with self-critical thoughts, even if they are very young.
  • The average mannequin, according to an independent study, is far too thin. By calculating the volume v. height of mannequins, the study found that if the average department store mannequin was truly alive, she would have a BMI too low to produce children. What a scary thought that I used to and many women still do look just as much at the mannequin’s size as the clothes she is donned in…
  • The fashion industry’s demand for thinness has taken an almost unfathomable step. Under speculation by the industry is using male models to display female clothes due to their natural tendency to be more flat chested. Androgenous males like Andrej Pejic have begun posing and strutting down the runway as very thin females, their new look being described as “very high fashion.” What does this say about our culture when women’s clothes are “fashionable” when they are no longer made for women?!
  • And finally, I shared this very poignant video by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. While I speculate about the decision to start the project(perhaps an advertising motive), I do believe it is innovative in that it is one of the first major groups to shed light on the fact that the media has skewed the reality of women’s bodies so that they are no longer recognizable as just that- women’s bodies with real flaws, real curves, and real beauty.

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4 Responses to “An unReal Reality”

  1. LeRoy Dean October 6, 2011 at 8:41 PM #

    Believe in yourself.

  2. fondofwords October 7, 2011 at 7:46 AM #

    Society is mostly insane, that’s all.
    which is sad.

    I’m glad you had the courage and strength to share your struggles with your class. How was your presentation received?

    • eodwyer October 7, 2011 at 8:27 AM #

      Thanks! I did not share that I have struggled with an ED, but just poor body image. The presentation was received very well. Most women were nodding their heads, while the men shook theirs. Because it is a community college, many of my fellow students are older and have children, so it brought to light what young girls might be learning from our society. And many of them expressed gratitude that I covered the subject, because society has taught us that outwardly, we have to be strong 100% of the time and talking about emotions and body image seems off-limits because it requires a certain amount of vulnerability.

  3. everywomyn October 16, 2011 at 5:52 PM #

    LOVE THIS POST! I was thinking of featuring a post like this on my blog also. I love the points you touched on and the video. Dove is doing a great thing with their campaign! It would be great if all women could realize the “unreal reality.”

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