I had the opportunity to observe a core conditioning class Monday. My goal? To become more familiar with the curriculum so that I could eventually teach it. The class was full of women with different levels of strength and ability. Initially, as the instructor demonstrated and verbally guided these women through different exercises, I studied each individual’s form and movement, trying to think of ways I would cue them and correct their alignment; however, as the class went on, I started focusing on the many different shapes and sizes of the women, and how no two bodies were exactly the same. There were tall, short, and medium heights, but the proportions varied to such degrees, that it really made me question, why we buy into the “ideal” body type that the fashion and media industry sells us? If it’s so “ideal” why don’t more women, naturally have it, shouldn’t anything that is “ideal” be the standard, norm, or at the very least, obtainable for most? I was in a room of nineteen women, and no two bodies were the same, and according to what the media would like for people to believe is “ideal,” only one of them fit the mold. Those nineteen women represent a minuscule fraction of what the world offers, so what fraction does the one “ideal” woman represent?
Most women have been programmed to believe, the “ideal” body, is anything other than their own, if they are larger than a size two. This programming is done through subliminal messaging via the media. To rarely see positive representation of your body shape in movies, on television, in magazines, or ads, inadvertently says, you’re not “ideal.” With subliminal messaging, the concept of the “ideal” body is created, causing levels of dissatisfaction, self-degradation, shame, body dysmorphic disorder, self-doubt, and many other insecurities that women struggle with. The struggles cause many to believe they have not, nor ever will obtain it; thus, fostering an inability to truly love one’s own body, because the “ideal” doesn’t match the reality.
People, especially women, are often their own worst critiques, that is the human condition. For many, the mirror is only an affirmation of what they believe they don’t have enough of, or what they believe they have too much of. They only see all the imperfections that they are unable to embrace. The imperfections that are often magnified when shopping and trying on those jeans that don’t quite fit the way they do on the mannequin, or that dress, that looked so great on the model in the magazine, but looks, not so great on them. Most women are on an unobtainable scavenger hunt, searching for clues, or that magical remedy, believing if they stick with this diet, and cut out that particular food group, if they juice every morning and do a detox cleanse, it will lead them to the prize, of having the “ideal” body. Not taking into consideration the quest for that body, is weakening their spirit.
Women need to realize, they already have the “ideal” body, the one they have been blessed with. Buying into what the media deems is ideal, creates and an unrealistic goal for many. They become the gerbil on the wheel constantly running but getting no where fast. It subconsciously destroys the ability to accept and love what one already has. What’s not accepted is not loved, what’s not loved, is not taken care of. Comparison places you at a disadvantage. It will always result in you feeling less than, or falling short, because the people you are comparing yourself to, usually are those cut from an entirely different genetic structure than you. So embrace what you have, stand in front of a mirror naked, study your body and fall in love with it, imperfections and all. Accept what you have and where you are in your journey, then and only then can you build a healthier you, not a different you, a better you.