Thursday, May 3, 2012

Women Exploited

Tired of all that advice about losing weight?  In the mid-1990s, Sassy magazine gave 13 reasons not to diet.  The magazine for young women stated boldly: Starving yourself is complete and total lunacy.  Dieting makes you boring.  You'll gain it back, anyway. 

The "evil diet industry" is unregulated and has no legal obligation to prove its products work, the magazine pointed out.  The promise of liberation through weight loss is false.  Today's barbie-doll worship does much harm to girls and young women. 

Unnatural mannequins, computer-altered photographs, anorexic models, all create a false ideal.  Marilyn Monroe, sex goddess of the 1960s, would today be considered too large by the fashion industry.  It wants us to believe the ideal shapes are thin, thinner and thinest.

Unfortunately, too many young women believe this nonsense.  They look into the mirror, imagine their bodies much larger than they really are, and lose their self-confidence.  Naomi Wolf alerted us to this mischief in her book The Beauty Myth.  She tells how the industry's creation of a mythical, perfect body has taught young women and girls to hate their bodies.  This self-loathing leads to eating disorders and depression.

As a first line of defence, every woman should read Gloria Steinem's Revolution from Within.  The book's argument is that too many of our systems of authority undermine women's opinion of themselves.  People in this condition are ready victims for unproven products and services.  As Steinem says it: "Liberation begins with the nurturing of self-esteem."

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