1) I’ve been reading books about body image; learning about how social, cultural, and historical influences have subtly (and explicitly) demanded that bodies look a certain way. I cannot ignore the world around me and the messages I receive from it, but I believe that I should be the one who decides when my body looks good and what I do to feel good about the way I look.
2) More and more, I’m noticing how certain people in my life are effected by a number on the scale. Whether it’s over-exercising, under-eating, or fretting about they way they look in outfits, it hurts me to see people I care about manipulating their bodies (and risking their health) to feel like they “fit” a certain mold. This especially bothers me because it seems as if they have no control over what that mold looks or feels like, yet they strive to become it.
3) Girls today physically develop earlier than they did 100 years ago. This change, largely due to better nutrition, means that at a younger age, girls start to compare their changing bodies to their peers. As advertising and pop culture media have increasingly focused on these younger girls, the image of a developed 11 year old starts to look more like a developed 17 year old. Although their bodies do start to mature earlier, the difference between an 11 year old body and a 17 year old body is not just physical. When the mental and sexual maturity of older teens is superimposed onto grade-school girls, it seems they are purposely set up to feel dissatisfied with their bodies. I don’t want to reinforce this message.
4) I don’t want a number on the scale to determine how I feel about my body. I want the opportunity to feel good about how I look based on how I look, rather than a number. If I look in the mirror and think “Yes, I like this!,” only to have that feeling diminished by stepping on the scale and seeing a number 10 or 20 pounds above what I’d prefer it to be, my body image is no longer based on the image of my body. I think I darn well deserve to use my own eyes to look at my body and decide for myself how I feel about what I see. It’s about rejecting a number chock-full of socially imposed meaning and judgment, and instead looking at my body as it is and appreciating the way it looks.
What is your relationship with the scale like? Do you feel pressured to constantly know how much you weigh? Do you think more about the number itself than what the number means? Who decides what it means or if it matters?