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Hey you, what do you see? Something beautiful, something free?

January 9, 2010

[This post was inspired by an article I read highlighting how BeautifulPeople.com kicked out members after they gained a little weight over the holidays. Sickening.]

There is a lot of pressure on kids, teenagers and even adults to look a certain way. Every other commercial on TV is about a weight loss program, fitness video or new miracle product that will make you drop 4 sizes in 4 days (only a slight exaggeration). 

When you flip through the stations and see reality shows like  Jersey Shore or dramas like Gossip Girl, it may be hard to deal with the fact that you don’t look like the faces staring back at you. Pop culture applauds sickeningly skinny actresses for their beauty and plasters bare-chested actors on magazine covers to show what men should aspire to.

Being healthy is one thing. There are safe ways to trim down and maintain a healthy weight. However, these methods take work and some people want double the results with half the effort. They go to extremes to try and meet the unrealistic expectations they see in the bright lights.

I had a friend in high school who was unhappy with her appearance due to body image issues (which stemmed from a mentally abusive relationship). She started Weight Watchers, but wasn’t happy with the speed of her results. She began to take laxatives and avoid meals to drop more weight, and before we knew it she was getting too skinny. Of course, she didn’t see it. She thought it was great, and there were people who applauded her for dropping down. Those of us who cared about her did not like seeing her cheek bones protruding from her face, or her arms getting frightfully thin. It was scary, and we worried about her, but it’s not an easy thing to approach someone with.

She battled with her body image disorder for years, and will probably always have to work on it. While we are no longer in real contact, I do hope she has come to terms with what plagued her earlier in life. But it’s not fair that she ever had to deal with it in the first place. People’s cruel comments and mean spirited words dug deep. Those things, combined with society’s unrealistic demands, can cause lasting trauma to women. And it has to stop.

I’m totally guilty of avoiding exercise, eating bad foods and skipping doctor’s visits. But I am thankful to be comfortable enough in my skin to know that I will never be nor do I ever want to be a supermodel, and that’s okay. I do want to make a more conscious effort this year to start living healthier and maybe show those jerks at BeautifulPeople.com that you don’t have to be a size 0 to be sexy.

**Blog title taken from the lyrics of Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People”**

This blog post was edited on January 17 to clarify points and remove incorrect information. Genuine apologies to anyone who received misinformation or misconstrued the purpose of the post as it was originally written.

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