WIN Wyoming and WIN the Rockies
Why promote size diversity acceptance?
During the month of November, I presented several programs on size diversity
acceptance to the demonstrator communities for WIN the Rockies. For one of the
programs, I developed a handout of some of the main concepts of size diversity
acceptance, at least from my perspective. For this month’s thought bullets, I
share those thoughts with you.
- The media would have us believe that all females should be thin/slender
and all males should be tall/muscular. Some refer to this as the
"cookie cutter" approach to body image. That is, we should all
have very similar body types. In reality, humans come in a wide variety of
sizes and shapes, and rather than viewing this as a flaw for body types
outside the media ideal, many people believe it is time we start celebrating
diversity of body types as one of the many characteristics that make humans
- Could our quest for thinness actually contribute to unwanted weight gain
and obesity? Think about this example: a young girl grows up with images of
Barbie and extremely thin female body types often seen on television and in
magazines. At a very early age, the girl begins to hear a message in her
head that says, "don't eat or you'll get fat." As the young girl
gets older the message of "don't eat or you'll get fat" gets
louder and louder. By the time she reaches high school, she is skipping
breakfast and lunch. When she does finally eat, she is so famished, she eats
a large amount of food in a short amount of time. The next day she awakes,
and the eating pattern of skipping meals and binge eating continues.
Although she strives for thinness, she continues to gain unwanted weight.
What if this girl embraced the belief at a very early age that people come
in a wide array of body sizes? Might she have developed a healthier eating
- Males are not exempt from feelings of inadequacy due to narrowly defined
ideal body types. In previous generations, most people thought a washboard
was used to clean clothing, not describe men abs. We also thought a six-pack
referred to beer or soft drinks, not male abdominal muscles.
- Images of humans we see every day are simply fantasy. Cindy Crawford was
once quoted as saying she wished in real life she looked like the Cindy
Crawford that adorns countless magazine covers. In other words, Cindy
Crawford wished she looked like Cindy Crawford! Many images of humans we see
every day are not real. They are air-brushed, computer digitized and
enhanced. Blemishes are removed, thighs are slenderized, and wrinkles are
- The problem is not that few humans have the flawless beauty and perfectly
proportioned bodies that we see in magazines, but rather the problem is that
we fail to understand that NO human looks that perfect. We all have skin
pores. We all have strands of stray hair (unless we're bald, which is simply
one of many hair types). We all have parts of our body that are proportioned
differently than other people. We all have countless number of unique body
characteristics. Rather than seeing these characteristics as flaws, it's
time we begin to embrace the concept that our body sizes and shapes are as
unique as our fingerprints and DNA.
Source: Betty Holmes. Size It Up! Program celebrating the diversity
of body sizes and shapes. Preston, ID. November 2003.
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD
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