Maintaining a positive body image is extremely difficult these days. Apparently, there really is no such thing as being too thin. This is the message conveyed by the media, backed up by popular health and weight-loss professionals, and illustrated in trendy movies and TV programs. Americans who are overweight (I detest the word “obese”) are, in a backward kind of way, viewed as “less.”
By “less” I mean that society views overweight people as less capable, less intelligent, and less loveable than people who are not overweight. It is irrelevant that you are the most competent person in the office, that your IQ equals that of Stephen Hawking, and that you have a kind, charismatic personality if you are fat. Fat – if you’ll forgive the bad pun – outweighs all of the other qualities a person possesses. That’s not right, but that’s how it is.
While shopping at the mall last weekend, I took this picture of the front window of a girdle shop. Yes, there was an entire store dedicated to “the perfect body.” No, I didn’t make that up. If you don’t happen to have a “perfect body” already, this store will happily squeeze you into a neck-to-ankle girdle that will supposedly reshape you. How bad does your personal body image have to get to make you willing to wedge yourself into a head-to-toe girdle?