Let me start by saying that like Jennifer Aniston, I don’t like to give energy to negativity, especially topics that put down or attack other cultures, political parties, religions and people.
If the subject is controversial, I’ll shy away from it so as not to add more fuel to the already raging fire of our world today.
But I cannot refrain from proudly supporting a person who had the courage and bravery to step into the spotlight when they value their privacy so much to give voice to the horrible body shaming so prevalent in our society today and say, “Enough is enough and I’m fed up.”
As a woman close to Jennifer Aniston’s age, I was deeply moved and inspired that she took the time to thoughtfully and powerfully address the rumors about herself and the general attitude in our country about women’s looks and bodies. I have been fed up for most of my adult life at the callous comments I hear from other people, both men and women, tearing apart both themselves and others for not looking a certain way.
I am guilty of putting this kind of pressure on myself and as I’ve gotten older, the concern over “looking my age” or “not looking like I used to” is getting more intense, especially in a culture that so values youth.
Not a day goes by that I don’t see evidence of the scrutiny we put on ourselves and others to look a certain way. Whether it be reading comments on social media, being told what is considered “beautiful” through television and magazine ads or observing the body shaming that goes on in my every day life, it’s clear that it’s become a major problem in our society.
When a woman—who has been recognized in the media as being fit, healthy and beautiful in mind, body and spirit as Jennifer Aniston has consistently been over the years—becomes the target of body-shaming, it’s about time that somebody spoke up.
Even better yet that it was her.
So you go girl…I salute you, as I know women everywhere are, for taking a stand for yourself and all the men and women out there who have been the target of insensitive comments about their appearance.
I work with a gorgeous young women who puts herself down daily because she is not the same weight that she was in college. Fear of pictures being posted on Instagram and Facebook creates a huge amount of anxiety for women like her who don’t want others to judge her based on how she looks or what size she currently is.
She is definitely not alone. We have all been there.
This young woman and so many others like her are suffering silently because of the messages out there today regarding what we should look like. Girls as young as 9 and 10 years old feel the need to look a certain way to be accepted in today’s society.
When these young girls are following people like Kylie and Kendall Jenner on social media and expecting themselves to measure up to the filtered images they see, there is little hope that they will feel anything but inadequate.
And although we can’t control what the tabloids, magazines and media put out there, we can control the messages we send out to our own children, friends, partners and even strangers about what is considered “beautiful.”
I want my daughter to know that she is absolutely perfect as she is. I don’t want her to measure her worth based on how she looks, her weight or how much validation she receives from other people. I want her to be as comfortable and carefree in a bathing suit at 15 as she is now at age three. I want her to enjoy being pregnant one day without concerning herself with stretch marks or how long it will take to lose the baby weight.
I want us to get more comfortable embracing our changing bodies as we age. I want more people to show love and compassion toward themselves when they look in the mirror and notice a few more gray hairs, or a few more lines on their faces, or the way their bellies now hang over their pants because their lives are too full of other things to obsess over it anymore.
I want to see more people go out of their way to tell a person they see on the street who may not be the ideal body type that they look good. I want to see magazines stop airbrushing celebrities’ faces so the world can see they look just like us and are still considered beautiful.
I want to see cellulite on models, post-partum bodies of celebrities right after they’ve given birth, and men featured in magazines that don’t all look like Greek Gods so that we can feel that it’s okay to not be perfect.
And could we consider not referring to plus size models as anything but just “models?”
Just food for thought. Thanks Jen, for starting the discussion.
Author: Dina Strada
Editors: Catherine Monkman; Caitlin Oriel