It would appear that in ones 30’s you don’t have so many hang-ups about your body anymore. Somewhere on the journey from 20 to 30 it seems our thoughts turn from the fashion fads to the more pertinent questions of life and work and survival in this crazy world.
The Lounge chatted with several women who are in their 30’s and older and the common thread with most of them was that as they got older, their focus went from looking ‘sexy’ for others to being happy with their body.
Surely there are always a few things that one can and should work on, but the focus is on being healthy rather than to be merely aesthetically pleasing. This of course is a good thing. When you exercise for the sake of your well-being rather than how you might look in that pair of jeans, then how those jeans fit is an added bonus but not the ultimate goal.
Jennifer Moody says that having always been a bigger girl, she struggled with her weight growing up. Now, being older, she notes that she doesn’t have as many issues with the way her body looks, and that she doesn’t think about it all the time, especially since she is raising someone who is looking up to her everyday.
So even if some thoughts of self-consciousness cross her mind sometimes, she can’t always voice that because she wants be a positive role model for her daughter. “It is hard, but it is also a good thing to remember to try and be positive as much as possible”, says Jennifer.
“I used to be in the habit of skipping lunch in my 20’s. Back then I would have some chips and a cold drink almost everyday. Now I am eating healthier but I am not letting it stress me, it is not a mission because I still basically eat everything that I want to.
When I first started out with eating differently, it did stress me out ‘cause it was totally different, but now I feel like a ‘pro and I’m like, whatever. I love food, I eat everything, I am okay with my body and I try to not let things get to me” says Natasha Hartley.
It would seem that although it is not all moonlight and roses, things do become a tad simpler as one ages and deals with your ever-changing body.
There are many factors that influence our body image; our family members, parents, peers and even intimate relationships.
However the factor that has arguably the most effect on our body image is the media. Media being the internet, magazines and television. Not to mention social media. Regardless of the demographic you fit into, these factors have an impact on how you see your body and yourself.
The media has not ceased to expose us to unattainable body “goals”. By “goals” they mean: a tiny waste and thunder thighs or a slim and slender body like Naomi Campbell? Or maybe a big rear to get you the attention and validation that the media makes you think you need.
The media falsifies images of women that do not look like the average woman. Majority of magazines make women appear thinner in the magazine than she really is, this means that we subconsciously glorify and absorb like sponges these unreal(istic) images of women.
When we realise that we don’t look like the slim, tall and slender supermodel on the front cover it produces thoughts and feelings on inadequacy, anxiety, stress and makes us absolutely obsessed with our bodies.
Women with slim and slender bodies are convinced they should pick up a few pounds to live up to music video vixens that are the core topic of many rap song lyrics like ”she got a big booty so I call her big booty” as said by rapper 2Chainz. On the other hand women with chubbier and curvaceous bodies feel that they should live up to the supermodels they see strutting down Victoria Secrets’ runways oh so gracefully and on the billboards. But what secret is Victoria keeping?
Women all across the world go to extremes just to ‘fix’ or ‘craft’ themselves into the body they have been taught they should have. A few absurd, unhealthy and dangerous measures women have taken to lose weight include dipping cotton wool into a liquid then swallowing it, going on cigarette diets which in the 20’s was rumored to suppress your appetite and the sleeping diet.
Advocates for this diet believed that if you were asleep you’d have no time to eat. Women popped sleeping tablets to help them sleep all day long to avoid eating.
Obsessing over our body images can cause mental illnesses such as depression, anorexia which is an emotional disorder caused by the obsession to lose weight by refusing to eat or even obesity which is the state of growing overweight.
The images that the media portrays of the ‘perfect’ body are captured and put together by individuals who in fact do not even have perfect bodies because guess what? Everybody’s bodies are made and are proportional to all their body features. Your body is made just for you, different from the next person’s-that’s your superpower.