Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dangerous Curves Shouldn't Only Apply To Roads

OK, I get it, it’s been a minute since I have posted anything. Many of you may have thought I’d abandoned this road trip since I hit my goal. Well, rest assured, I haven’t. Getting to my goal was only the first part of my journey. I will be on this excursion for the rest of my life, and I look forward to the adventure that awaits me.

So, now that I have the reassurances out of the way that I am still alive and well, I wanted to get on with the bur under my saddle– the nail in my tire, so to speak– that inspired a soap-box moment on Facebook last night: the media still doesn't understand women and the struggle we all go through in order to feel accepted by our peers and by society. And really, now that we are generations removed from the Marilyn Monroe/Jean Harlow glory days where real women had curves and looked like women instead of 13 year old boys, why should I expect that the media would be accepting of a woman who breaks the mold. You know, the mold of someone who only drinks water (but not too much, for fear of retaining it), might eat a celery stick and smokes plenty of cigarettes to keep her mind off of starving herself. The kind of girl who presents a completely unnatural, impossible ideal of what is expected of women. While I don’t have any real statistics, I could guess that only about 3% of American women fit the media’s perception of what the perfect woman is: 0% body fat, 5’10” (or taller), around 100 lbs. Who knows, maybe that percentage is a little high, maybe it’s way off, but what I can tell you is that probably 95% of that 3% live in Hollywood, the other 5% are probably in an eating-disorder clinic.

What, you may be asking yourself, brought on this rant? Well, I’ll tell you…it was an interview I saw with Miss Indiana. She made quite the splash at the recent Miss USA pageant because, according to media outlets, she has a “normal” body type. Normal…let that sink in for a minute. So, does that mean there is, on some level, an understanding that the other girls in the competition aren't normal? Let’s consider a few things here:

  • She may be normal and a hit on social media, but her Bikini Scores weren't high enough to allow her to move into the Top 10 finalists (judges message: she’s too fat)
  • She’s 5’8”, weighs 137 lbs. and is a size 4 (really, that’s normal?)
  • She is, on average, 25 pounds heavier than the other girls in the competition

What is the message we are sending the young girls sitting in front of the TV watching this spectacle? Well, it seems to be “if you are a size 4, you are too fat to win a beauty pageant.” I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that a size 4 is “normal”.

I mentioned Marilyn and Jean earlier, and I must go back and elaborate on them for a minute. Back in the day, they were considered “Blonde Bombshells” with curves that went on for days! When you looked at them, you couldn't count their ribs or you didn't fear that they might fall over from exhaustion, dehydration or starvation with their next step. No, they were real women and they looked like women. And what’s really amazing is, even today, if you have a picture of a Victoria’s Secret Angel next to the iconic picture of Marilyn in the white dress over the street vent and you show them to a random selection of men, guess which one they will choose? But put the same two pictures in front of women and ask them which one they would prefer to emulate, and I bet the results would be disappointing, yet not shocking.

But, my final realization in all of this is that it doesn't matter what you weigh, what size you are as long as you are healthy. Happy is a side-effect of healthy and if you can be healthy at 5’8” and 137 lbs., go for it. If you can be healthy and happy at 5’6” and 160, go for it. But don’t let society dictate what is “normal” because then the world would be a very boring place. So be abnormal and live your own life, that’ll teach’em!