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Naked Appreciation

Do I really want to lose weight? – I can remember, many years ago when it was age-appropriate, reading an article in Seventeen Magazine.  It was memorable, I suppose, because it was the first time I recall feeling a sense of outrage at the less-than-subtle suggestion that I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t look like the model on the magazine cover.  I had been through a doughy phase at around 13-14, but I was back to a normal weight by 16.  But still, I was a 16-year-old girl.

The article directed, “Stand in front of a full-length mirror naked.  Frankly assess any less-than-perfect parts.”  Excuse me?  Did you just, actually, advise an entire class of the most obsessed-and-critical-of-their-bodies humans (teenage girls) to scrutinize every inch of those bodies, and judge them against a standard of perfection?  Is this the article that launched a thousand eating disorders?

With a few well-meaning hiccups like the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” and Tyra Banks’ complaint that even her thighs had been airbrushed smaller for an ad, the media has been presenting us with unrealistic “standard” images for decades.  It is incredibly ironic that the web address has been abandoned by the Dove folks and purchased by, you guessed it, a weight loss program.  Sigh.

I’m not the first to point out that equating skinny with beautiful is a 20th-century concept. […]

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