Now that summer has arrived I have observed the increased acceptance of diversity of all kinds. That is one of the many beauties of life: how different we all are in our singularity. I have noticed less shame regarding body size among women both prominent and average. It seems as beauty standards have become more flexible and redefined, the norm is not just young and impossibly thin but older, darker, and larger in body size.
I have noticed women walking around unselfconsciously displaying adipose tissue in abundance with no need to hide! Are we finding greater societal and self-acceptance? Perhaps beauty standards are slightly changing to become more inclusive about the definitions of beauty. It is no longer a narrowly defined and unreachable ideal but more universal and realsitic about who women actually are.
Are women having more influence over these trends? Perhaps that helps infuse realism into our culturally defined standards of body image. If we can realistically define what makes us valuable as human beings we can be at peace with ourselves and break the chokehold of chronic body dissatisfaction and "thin idealism."
In an article called "Body Image in Adult Women: Moving Beyond the Younger Years" in the Journal of Advances in Eating Disorders, "...body dissatisfaction is associated with other negative psychological outcomes including depressed mood" and "Self-objectification occurs when females internalize the objectifying gaze of a society that tends to view the female body as an object."
Also, negative body image with associated shame and disconnect from positive attitudes towards ourselves negatively affect our own participation in physical activities. Body dissatisfaction and self-consciousness about our appearance becomes a deterrent to being more physically active and induces inactivity which we all know makes blood sugar control very difficult.
As we represent ourselves in more realistic terms, we are not giving up on striving for better health and fitness. It just means we are accepting ourselves more and that can only lead to better outcomes!! (and having more fun on the way!)
Have a reinvigorating Spring and Summer. Get out there and enjoy being you.