Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Body Image Anyone?
Last month I met with former co-workers at a friend’s wedding . We caught up with our news and views, sharing information about our new ventures. One woman, a social worker by profession worked with adolescents who had eating disorders.
I know several young people who struggle with multiple diagnoses, one of which was an eating disorder. As a teacher I wasn’t involved in the therapeutic counseling sessions—but I often wondered if the eating disorder didn’t have an equal or greater role than the co morbid conditions (PTSD, BPD). We often hear of the high risk for girls but I knew a couple of young men as well who struggled with anorexia.
My friend said, “Yes, I do have male clients and the occurrence is not restricted to teenage girls. In fact a few took longer to seek help because eating disorders is a ‘girl thingy.’ We continue to work with them on eliminating that stigma.” That was a new one for me!
No society or culture is free of the concept of a perfect look—color, shape, size, weight, height, everything is tallied and marked in terms of preference. Depending on where you live and whom you talk to either their vision is perfect or the other person is wrong. But a few values are specific to specific cultures. We have our own conundrums in India…color is just one of those (I’ve never understood why tanning salons are considered cool and not part of the color craze but that’s for another day).
A few years back I was watching an Indian movie and there was this absolutely crazy song which translates to “I like a round fat figure (in a woman).” I translated this to my husband and his jaw dropped! “That is one thing you won’t find in any western song…you may hear someone lament about not being allowed to be fat but no mainstream song will carry that message.”
Since then there have been all the size zero fantasies (maybe publicity, who knows). All these shapeless women are now the role models for our youngsters. Do the men fare any better? I wish they would put all their effort to develop their non existent acting skills. It maybe true that looking at thin people doesn't case an eating disorder. it certainly reinforces the stereotype that thin is beautiful.
As parents and educators, let us help our children develop positive body image.
To be continued…
Posted by Ms. S at 8:00 AM