In a world where Kate Upton is a “fat cow” and Vogue‘s idea of being more body-positive is photo spreads of skinny women smoking and models instead of female athletes, it’s no wonder women have completely distorted relationships with their own bodies; we are being set up, over and over again, to fail. But just how poorly do we feel about ourselves? According to one small survey in the UK, most women are worried about being fat multiple times a day.
According to the poll, 80% of those surveyed said they felt poorly about their own body, and that seven in ten were so unhappy, that they worried about being fat at least three times per day. Three times a day! Which might be a slightly inflated number–a Gallup poll out today said that only about 55% of American women worried at least occasionally about their weight. So either Britons are far more conscious of their weight, or the people who take Gallup polls are less likely to care.
But the problem isn’t just for women–that same Gallup poll indicated that the number of men who are worried about their weight has gone up 20% since 1990. Which means that excessive Photoshopping, unrealistic expectations or perfection, and emphasis on physical attractiveness aren’t just harming women and girls–they’re harming everyone.
And while there is an argument to be made that, at least in America, there are a lot of people who should be concerned about their weight, just thinking about being fat isn’t going to solve that problem–nor is misinformation from food manufacturers, or the lack of emphasis on health and healthy bodies in the media. When everything is about weight loss and getting skinny and being perfect, no one gets better, because it all feels unattainable.
Luckily, there’s finally starting to be some pushback. From Nicole Clark‘s Cover Girl Culture, to teenage girls speaking up about Seventeen‘s use of Photoshop, to Tavi Gevinson‘s eloquent frankness on the topic of representation, women are starting to demand more realistic female bodies in the media, and less pressure to be perfect.
Image: Gerald Bernard via Shutterstock