This week, we watched the documentary ‘Dying To Be Thin’, which showcased women struggling with anorexia. I knew about this disease but I was really happy to see the spotlight this documentary placed on eating disorders within the dancing community. As a former dancer, I felt the pressure to be thin, heard about how all the best ballerinas were slender. One girl I knew struggled with anorexia, she was a ballerina as well as a swimmer. In order to achieve her “ideal” weight, this girl would starve herself while drinking copious amounts of water so that her body would still put out waste, taking even more weight off. Watching her change her clothes was painful, her hip bones protruded so obviously yet she still complained about needing to lose more in preparation for a recital. The documentary also did a great job discussing the toll eating disorders take on the body, you’re not just affecting your stomach or your weight, you’re depriving yourself of essential nutrients that the other organs need to function. Finally, I found it interesting when some of the patients discussed what underlying circumstances had led them to anorexia, and how at the end of the day, it was more about having control over something than losing weight.
Labiaplasty is an operation women can get to have their inner labias trimmed or cut completely off. Women that go through this $4,000 plus surgery feel like their vaginas are not up to pare with our societies porn industry women. Having an outrageous operation so you may look like a porn star is a bit extreme if you ask me. Women are all beautiful and in my opinion, all genitalia no matter who it is on is not “pretty” with or without an expensive surgery. Our body parts are meant for a purpose, those regions help produce beautiful babies and to give both women and men pleasure. Why does something that has such a valuable purpose have to be attractive? It’s not like other people will be looking at it 24/7. I think getting a Labiaplasty is a dangerous move for women. Labias are meant to help keep bacteria out of the vaginal area, without those women risk getting more serious infections that normally would be easily treated, such has a urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. Not only is this surgery potentially risky but having it available on the market shows women that it is okay to want to brutalize their bodies to fit into a socially constructed view of beauty. I personally do not agree with anyone who receives or does these operations.
The ideal of beauty is not something new. In past times, women have put their bodies at risk in order to change it according to what was fashionable at that point. It has certainly not being always the ideal of skinny. I remember my grandma telling me about those times when they used to laugh at her because she was too skinny, even comparing her to a bonefish. Back then, in those years after the war, a curvy girl was considered healthy and attractive, while a thin girl was not. However, in a different time, decades before that, women wore corsets to make their waists smaller. And If we look at history in different parts of the world, we will find different examples of women trying to change their bodies to achieve what it is considered beautiful, as chinese shoes or african neck rings.
The difference this time is the impact of the media. It can highly influence young women in a way that it never did before. Now fashionable bodies are fashionable worldwide, and there is no way of escaping from the standard, even if diversity should be appreciated more than ever. However, I think we can use the media in the opposite sense, to create awareness about the problem and to make people understand the risk involved. With documentaries, as the one we saw in class, I think we can improve and actually change something: create awareness about diversity and not standard beauty.
Having that “perfect” body image has affected so many women in today’s society. Everyone, or at least it seems like everyone, wants to have the ideal body. But what is the ideal body? Who is the one that put stipulations on what is or is not attractive? Wanting the perfect body has even caused young women to acquire eating disorders, become involved with drugs, start smoking, and become self-conscious of their appearance.
It seems like it has been drilled in our heads since we started school that you have to be thin in order to fit in or for guys to like you. I even fell in this trap to a point. If I gained weight, I would freak out because I wasn’t as skinny or in shape as others. I would constantly compare myself to other girls to see how I looked compared to them. Even my little sister, who is eleven, asked me, “Sam, do you think I’m fat?” I of course told her she is not, because she is nowhere near fat. She continued to tell me that some kids at school told her that her stomach is shaped weird and that she isn’t skinny. This broke my heart. I hate that society has created a norm as to what women should look like. IT IS RIDICULOUS!
I just want to stress that you are who you are. God has made everyone special with numerous shapes and sizes. There should not be one set body type that is acceptable. We should stand proud of what we look like and put an end to this body image norm!
In society today, body image is held up to a really high standard. People are made to believe that they have to be thin, skinny, and have a “perfect” body. In reality though, it is actually not that big of a deal. Dying to be Thin really made an impact on me.
In the film, it showed so many lives that were affected by eating disorders. To be able to see inside of those girls’ lives was very eye opening. Some of the girls in the film were pressured to be thin because they wanted to pursue their dreams to become the best. I think that this is absolutely horrible to feel that pressure from others around you. Someone should not tell you that you are not good enough because of your body size, and as a dancer, you should only be judged on your performance not looks. In another sense, it hurts me to see those girls that I do not even know slowly kill themselves on the inside without even realizing that they are doing it. I have always heard of anorexia and bulimia, but I never noticed just how common that it is. Now that we are more educated about it, we should be the ones to stand up and help those going through it.. Nobody should have to go through that because one thinks that he or she is not good enough. Everybody is beautiful in his or her own way!
In today’s society the media depicts women and critiques them on their body image. Young girls especially are affected by the media because they are trying to live up the social “norm” of being skinny. Many girls compare their bodies to those of super models and actresses. There is a problem with that though, most of the women that young girls are trying to look like are starving themselves as well and are not healthy. The media should be at fault for young women having eating disorders and self-confidence issues. Pictures are constantly being taken of models, dancers, and actresses and being plastered all of the world of what the perfect ideal body should be.
As a result, young women, and even some men, are hard on themselves for not living up to the standard at which they are being held to. They go to extreme measures such as: starving themselves for months, participating in crash diets, and others forms of dieting methods to lose weight. As a result of this happening, alarming statistics are popping up now about young women and eating disorders. According to The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 20 million women now suffer from eating disorders in the United States. An action needs to be taken to curtail this vicious cycle of young children falling victim to the perfect body image that society and the media has created.
Dying to Be Thin reminded me of my best friend this past summer. For his whole life, he had been on the heavier side, which can be mostly contributed to his biological composition. He, like most overweight teenagers, was picked on and teased on a daily basis by both his friends and family. So over the summer, he began to stop eating and practically worked out whenever he could. I watched as my best friend went from about 300 pounds to a little over 200 pounds in a matter of two months. It was not healthy for him to be losing 5 to 10 pounds per day, working out over 4 hours, and not eating food. I making me sick looking back onto it now. However, it began to rub off on me. It seemed like a high to see how long your body could run without food, kinda like an adrenaline rush. He could have died in the middle of all this. He did this to make everyone else around him happy, instead of doing it for himself. Yet, he still is not happy with himself. It truly becomes a physiological disorder. It is the same thing that models and dancers do to conform to a particular body image, but I never thought it could have happened to someone that close to me. Dying to Be Thin shined a new light on anorexia that I had never seen. I have heard about people having it, but actually getting to see what happens to the human body, how the bones virtually disappear, mortifies me. I watched a show on Netflix called Skins, which is about teenagers about our age somewhere in Europe dealing with typical teenage problems. One girl on the show deals with anorexia and one quote she says regarding going on a date with a boy is: “I’ve starved myself for three days so I could be pretty.” It is crazy how that does not seems to shock anyone; yet, it is a growing problem in our world.