Okay, now that the hubbub about what all the stars were wearing at the Academy Awards on Sunday – hubbub that, I assure you, I care very much about (Gwyneth Paltrow, whaaaaat!) – I think it’s time to talk about something a little more serious: how rail-thin some of the stars looked at the awards show.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about eating healthy and exercising, but some of the women at the Oscars—I shall not name names—simply looked like they were wasting away. The media and the fashion industry don’t help. According to some statistics, in 1960, average fashion models were about 5’7” and weighed approximately 129 pounds. Today, average fashion models are two inches taller and weigh about 114 pounds. Some of the models at last month’s Fashion Week in New York were skin and bones – literally. (Before I get bombarded with negative comments, I understand that some women—including a lot of models—are naturally 5’9” and 114 pounds). And we are bombarded with articles in women’s magazines urging that if we can simply lose those last few pounds, we will have it all—a better love life, a boyfriend/husband who will love us more, children who won’t disobey us, a better career.
And what is this doing to our self image? Well, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa, 47% of girls in the 5th-12th grade report wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures, and 69% of those girls report that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape. In fact, over half of all teenage girls engage in unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, self-induced vomiting or abusing laxatives. What’s even worse is that 41% of 1st-3rd grade girls – we are talking girls as young as 7 years old – want to be thinner.
Meanwhile, only 5% of American women possess the body type portrayed in magazines as “ideal.” So the “ideal” woman is essentially unattainable for the great majority of us! No wonder, then, that we spend much of our adolescence and adult life worrying about our weight, as opposed to worrying about our health. I know that I was definitely a victim of this. Growing up in LA I was surrounded by the super-skinny. Some of my best friends, in fact, were child models and actresses. It was hard for me to be what some people may call “voluptuous” – to be the smart and funny friend. It took me a long time to get over this. To realize that in order for me to have a better love life, a boyfriend who loves me and a better career, I have to first be happy with myself. Sometimes it’s still tough, though. I mean, who doesn’t want to wear the clothes that fall so beautifully on those fashion models? I just have to remind myself that, in order for others to love me, I have to first love myself for who I am (cheesy, but true). And I am NOT—nor will I ever be—5’9” and 114 pounds.