The image of the ideal woman’s body has changed over the years. The change becomes obvious when you compare pictures today to pictures taken around the 17th century. The woman in the photo on the right was considered a symbol of the ultimate beauty back then. Today, she would be considered obese. She would not dare pose for any person trying to sketch her and most definitely not naked.
You might be thinking that the 17th century was a long time ago and this photo is quite old. To this I would say that there is a woman who has been considered beautiful much more recently, and by today’s standards, she too would be considered fat: Merlyn Monroe. Regardless of how pretty she was, she still was not completely satisfied with her looks and figure. There are many people like that today. I often have clients whose beauty I admire, and I realize they have absolutely no idea how beautiful they are.
Most men and women today have an issue with their body. They see themselves through filters of media, fashion, commercials and fear but they do not see themselves as they really are. If you want to see how many of them are out there, add up all the diet industry, plastic surgery industry, fashion industry, gym and sports industry, cosmetics industry and supplement industry clients. Every user is implanted with the belief that something is wrong with them which needs to be changed or fixed in order to “fit in”. 30 to 40 years ago, talk was mostly about beauty and fashion. Now-a-days, the focus is on health. Depending on what they sell, each company hypes up the ill-effects of different types of foods and minerals. For the water filter company, water is not pure. For the supplements companies, food lacks the necessary vitamins and minerals. Other doctors claim milk is bad for you, meat gives you cancer, and on and on it goes.
The more advertising there is, the more we look at ourselves and think we are unhealthy, unfit, a bit flabby, and sort of round. But what was once an old man at the end of his life when he reached his 40s and 50s, is now a man in his mid-life. People today live longer, with a higher quality of life. They have enough time to meet their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Things are only getting better. What gets worse is our perception of ourselves and our lives.
An experiment by Dove on body image illustrates the change in perception very well. A sketch artist sat behind a curtain while a woman on the other side described herself. Without seeing her, the artist drew her according to her description. The process repeated with a few other women, each from a different ethnic background. The women were then introduced to each other. Later on, the sketch artist sat back behind the curtain. Except this time, the woman on the other side described the women she had met briefly before. At the end of the experiment, the artist hung up the sketch of each woman as she described herself, and the sketch as she was described by another woman. The results were very insightful. Have a look:
It is amazing to see how we short-change ourselves. The more I think about it, the more I realize we would all do the same thing as the women in this video. What do you think?
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Be happy in your body,