Sexual Health Resources for Women of South Asian Heritage

Appreciate Yourself

Appreciate Yourself

By: Saipriya V

In recent years the definition of ‘beauty’ and an ‘ideal body’ has changed among women. Looking thinner is considered to be beautiful. This is due to the harsh critiques of our society which consider women being ‘thin’  as beautiful, hard working and successful,  on the other hand being ‘fat’ is considered as ugly, weak and lazy.

Globally, mainstream media’s especially  women’s magazines and commercials portray beautiful  and glamorous women to be very slender with thin long legs. Similarly, clothing companies often use size zero models in their advertisements, creating a very narrow definition of beauty.  This trend about ‘perfect body’ has slowly seduced women and made them hate themselves. This idealization of the   ‘perfect body’  made the weight loss industry more profitable, because they sell their products promising that their products helps to lose weight or helps to buy a certain brand of clothing.

Due to the strong desire for a ‘perfect body’, women are not completely satisfied with their body image, which leaves them stressed and anxious to obtain a ‘thin’ body.  Due to this continuous ‘perfect body’ pressure  women suffering from anorexia (eating disorder) has increased.

Eating disorders are more than just a problem with food, often it is associated with psychological problems. Women who are not satisfied with their body image often punish themselves by starving in order to have control of their life and to ease their anxiety and  tension. Recent reports show that due to this  obsession to look ‘skinny’  more young women are now malnourished. Just like eating disorders, due to the societal pressures to look thin can also push women to exercise too much. Over-exercising and unhealthy /under nourished eating patterns leaves women with severe health problems.

It is also important to understand that  these trends partially uprooted as a result of capitalism, where the beauty  and weight loss industries  in order to sell their products  made people to feel low and ugly about themselves. The “Mantra” of these industries are if you want to look beautiful, confident and stay happy then start using our products. This is how these companies make money and rule over us. “If tomorrow women all over the world looked in the mirror and if they liked what they saw reflected back at them, then we would have to reshape capitalism as we know it,” says professor Gail Dines.

Understanding  the risk associated with eating disorders  and focusing on health and well-being, no matter what size you are, is key to  living a healthy lifestyle. Let us stop hating our bodies, thinking too much about our weight, because ‘beauty is only a state of mind, not a state of your body’.