Thursday, January 3, 2013

I don't accept your definition of "beautiful"!

I must forewarn you that this first post of 2013 is a bit of a rant, but I am so disheartened that I felt compelled to write...

I was (mindlessly) flipping through a magazine yesterday, and left it laying open on the kitchen table (it had been keeping me company while my daughter was in a time-out as I have learned it's best not to stray too far as she is quick to notice any opportunities for get aways ;)!)  Once her time-out had ended and we'd had our 'talk', I carried on with the rest of my day and the magazine, Harper's Bazaar Jan '13, just laid there, untouched.

When my husband arrived home, hours later, he wandered over to it (it was the only thing on the table) and, with obvious disbelief, said 'that isn't toned and taut!'  I was curious as I hadn't even looked at that page, never mind read the small print on the photo, and so I went to where he stood to see for myself.  This photo, credited to Sean Cunningham, on page 264, has the caption "Toned and taut backstage at Michael Kors" and in large, bold print beside it is the caption, "Better Body."  

Let me make one thing very clear upfront, I am not criticizing the model nor the photographer.  I AM criticizing Harper's Bazaar and Michael Kors.  This beautiful girl looks unhealthy and Harper's Bazaar is using her image to 'inspire' women to get in shape?!  Michael Kors likely had zero input into his runway model's picture being used for this article; however, in my mind, he is complicit by having hired a model for his show whom appears to have an eating disorder.   This layout is part of an entire series entitled, "New Year, New You", and sub-titled, "Give yourself a head-to-toe makeover in nine days with these expert hair, skin, and body tips." by Jessica Prince.  I am here to propose vehemently argue that looking gaunt and unwell is NOT the body image that women should be aspiring to!

I should admit that I have been complaining about the scale recently...just before Christmas my family attended a wedding in Mexico where I indulged in sugary drinks and bigger-than-necessary meals, returning home just in time to participate in a multitude of social gatherings complete with appies, drinks, and mashed potatoes!  I knew that I had made unhealthy choices (albeit fun ones!) and it was time to get back on track, which, for me, means portion control and more exercise.  I will also admit that I'm not lovin' the reflection staring back at me at the moment BUT that isn't because I want to look like I'm starving myself, rather because I know what my body looks and feels like when I am healthy, when I am eating well, drinking water, and exercising.  I accept (and am learning to be more accepting) of my body and the only time I feel unhappy with it, with myself, is when I haven't respected it enough to make healthy choices.  

I DO NOT ACCEPT the "beautiful" that magazines are pushing down our throats...if you are naturally a size 2 or naturally a size 12, be happy, be healthy - we all have our own, innate figures - celebrate who you are whilst striving for health.   Know that healthy for me may look very different from healthy for you, and that's okay!  

I will write the Editor in Chief at Harper's Bazaar outlining what I've said here and I will also be much more prudent in what I leave laying around - our kids are bombarded enough with unrealistic imagery out in the world, I certainly don't need to leave it on the table for them.

So, let 2013 be about your HEALTH, about FEELING GREAT, and about recognition that what we see in magazines is not real and is quite often not healthy.  

Here's to a happy and healthy 2013, beautifuls!

Life is beautiful!