I’m thinking this is National Week of Epiphanies.
In a vain attempt to catch up with 18 pages of blogs, I came across this one yesterday from Tina at A Marathon and A Sprint. By the time I was done reading it, I felt like Jennifer Garner needed to run for President. (Make sure you go and check out the video Tina posted. I’m too techno-challenged to figure out how to do it myself.) As all good literary pieces should do, it stuck with me. And as I was trucking my dupa home yesterday mid run – thank you very much Mr. Thunder and Lightning Storm – it made me wonder. Why do we have such differing opinions on what constitutes physical beauty?
The hubs and I couldn’t be further apart on this subject. He likes curves and “thickness”. I always argue the point that if he ever called a woman thick, more likely than not it would result in a smack upside his head. Some guys become total idiots in the mere presence of Victoria Secret model-like beauty, whereas the hubs thinks they’re all too skinny and doesn’t find them attractive at all. Yet who’s fighting me for the catalog when it shows up in the mail or wants to watch the annual VS Fashion Show? (They really ARE their own worst enemies.) And do you really think certain NFL quarterbacks would have EVER landed their supermodel wives if they were just average, off the street Joe Schmoes? Doubt it.
Show this picture to any average guy and watch what happens. And men wonder why women are so super self-conscious about their looks?!?
I have a friend that I’ve known since first grade. This friend HATED going to gym class. Now, she has numerous races, fitness, and body building competitions on her resume, She now owns a gym and busts her butt to keep in shape. This past weekend, she competed in a body building competition. Just that fact that she’s 45 and looks the way she does is amazing to me. She ended up not placing and posted on Facebook that she needed to get back to work and get bigger. BIGGER. She’s a GIRL. Since when does the “ideal” look of a fit woman include entering freaky big status? I’ve been around/worked in the fitness industry off and on for years. I’ve seen what the demands of body building can do to a body, and it’s not always pretty. The push to be bigger/stronger/more defined can sometimes end up with deadly results. At the ripe old age of 20, a fellow gym member’s heart literally imploded while he was driving and he ended up crashing his car into a tree. The drive to be bigger and stronger led him to mess with his diet. And he was DIABETIC. Was the vanity factor worth it? I think I know what his parents, friends, and girlfriend would have said.
What men and women consider attractive/sexy/beautiful is as varied as we are. Skinny, curvy, thick, heavy, athletic, lean-muscled, big-muscled – there’s no lack of opinions as to what constitutes hot. As humans, and very visual creatures, it’s hard to deny how much “good-looking” plays into our daily lives. We’re constantly bombarded with pictures of thin, tall, leggy supermodels. We see how men react when they see them. And then they wonder why we’re constantly dieting, hitting the gym, running, counting calories, and always pushing to find that elusive size 0. It’s no wonder when all we see and hear is “be thinner”, “look better”, “you TOO can be mistaken for a model! Just take this pill! Only $39.95!”
I live in the land of high school girls getting plastic surgery so they can win the coveted prom queen title. However, as we do spend more of our time wearing shorts and tank tops than the rest of the country, we also work hard at staying fit and eating right. I can happily say that over the past 19 years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen the attitudes change among many young women, and they are starting to take on a more active life. For the most part, it’s no longer about who’s the thinnest, but who’s the fastest and the strongest. Girls around here are looking less likes twigs and more like healthy, athletic women. So perhaps attitudes are changing for the better. Finally.
So the next time you find yourself having a bad body day, and feel like you’re never going to get any where, stop and take a moment. Watch Jennifer Garner brag about her baby bump. Look at the race PR you earned. Check out the amazing types of people who show up at a runDisney event who cover every type of physical build and ability you can imagine. Be thankful that your body can DO what you ask it to do, no matter what it looks like doing it. Because I guarantee, there’s someone watching who thinks you look just like this.
Enjoy the ride.
We’re all victims of bad body days. How do you get past them? Are you able to see how hot you really are? What do you consider “attractive?”