Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Time to "SHRINK" the Effects of these Harmful Media Messages!

media messages, harmful media, society beauty, beauty, true beauty, natural beauty, thick or thin, belly, shrink, shrink belly, malinda prudhomme, toronto artist, shape, october shape magazine, june shape magazine

Let me start by saying I live in my own little bubble. I do, I truly do. My Art Studio is in my home so I don't often have to converse with people who live by society's rules and standards. When I do socialize the people I hold close to me don't conform either. I go for walks and I look at the people, the architecture, and the nature. I try my best never to look at ads and when I watch TV I fast forward the commercials. I don't buy it. The messages they're trying to push, that I'm not good enough, that I don't have enough, are wasted on me. But when I do encounter something harmful I can't help but think of the women (and men) who feel pressured by these messages. While visiting many doctors offices and medical testing offices I have seen MANY of these types of magazines in the waiting area. Last week I came across the one featuring Kaley Cuoco (on the left) and I just couldn't help but shake my head in frustration.

First of all, how are magazines like this helpful to people who are suffering with medical problems? Really?! The LAST thing women with health issues need to be thinking of is how big their belly is or how their arms aren't "sleek". Not to mention that apparently they should be having lots and lots of sex. It's ridiculous. I find it absolutely shocking that in places of supposed well-being these are the messages that are being provided to women who are suffering both in body and mind (because let me tell you from experience, once you've been physical ill for some time your mind eventually follows). I've conversed with other women who are ill and was surprised to hear them say that when they get better they still have so-and-so many pounds to loose. I'm at a loss for words because it seems so ludicrous. Health and happiness should be the ONLY goal for these women. But how can they escape these poisonous thoughts when magazines like this are staring them in the face at every medical appointment they go to? Be strong ladies, we must be strong.

The message that jumped out at me first (probably due to the big bold lettering) is "Shrink Your Belly!". I thought as a society we were moving away from this nonsense! Shrink your belly? Really!? No woman should worry about the size of her belly. Health ... worry about health! Leave the size of things up to your natural and unique genetic makeup. I think it's rather sick (and I use that word literally) to focus on flat thin bellies at all times. Some women will NEVER have thin flat bellies no matter how hard they try. Some people aren't believing me right now but it's true. I've been very small in my lifetime but not ever did I have a perfectly flat tummy. Never. I have always had a small little bubble in my lower stomach which I used to despise and now I LOVE! It's such a gorgeous piece of my body. And what about women who have had children. Sure, some can "shrink" back down and have their pre-existing flat tummy once again, but for many that isn't the case. Muscles go through a lot when carrying a child and quite often things don't just go back to where they were. Should those women feel inadequate and unattractive? No, they are gorgeous! Their bellies are beautiful and show the miracle of growing life within them. Stunning, gorgeous, magical. And yet, we still live in a world where these women are shamed. Hiding their bellies at the beach and cursing their stretch marks. It's sad but only we can change the trend by showing we don't subscribe to their "rules" for beauty. ALL bellies are beautiful.

I also find it outrageous that the headlining message from the June Edition (Kaley Cuoco is October) is pretty much the same. It's as if they thought, "Well it's summer. Time to make them feel like shit about their bodies" .... "Well, it's been a few months, better remind them how ugly and inadequate they are". What gives? Is there really nothing better for women to read about. Is there nothing more helpful for their "Shape". How is it still all about being thin? Notice how both issues also want women to have "Lean Legs", Toned Abs", "Sleek Arms", and "Firm Perky Butts"? Really?! Who out there loves their luscious thighs as much as I love mine? How about soft arms? Yup, I love mine too. Perky butt? My goodness, no thank you! It's not that those things aren't beautiful, they just aren't me. And I refuse to feel like less of women, less attractive, because I don't fit into society's mould of what beauty is. YOU don't need these things to be beautiful. You don't! You also don't need these things to be healthy! It makes me truly sad to think that some women might read this and think, "Oh ya, my butt is awful and my arms are so fat and ugly and ...." on and on and on with the negative thoughts about their body. Because that's what this magazine is hoping for. They want you to feel awful about yourself so you buy a copy and browse through the mostly ads and then feel pressured to buy some of those items, and then buy more and more and more. This is how our current society works and it makes me sick. Don't fall into the trap, please I beg you. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Worry about health and not about looking like ANY OTHER WOMAN. Be you. Be happy. Be healthy.

Speaking of health, I know some of you might be thinking, "Oh but it's unhealthy to be overweight"! To you I say, "You know what's unhealthy? Constantly berating yourself over what you ate. Criticizing your body. Comparing yourself to others. Counting calories and focusing on a number on the scale or measuring tape. THAT's unhealthy!". People are constantly thinking of the body and only the body when it comes to health. Our minds are INCREDIBLY important to our overall health. So much so that your thoughts can actually make you physically sick. Imagine how much damage you're doing to yourself when you are constantly hating on yourself. Don't. Don't hate yourself over what society (a money making machine) is telling you. Please don't. HEALTH comes in all different shapes and sizes. YES, you can be "overweight" and healthy. Eat well, exercise,  go outside, smile and laugh! If you do these things you're on a healthy track! I don't want people to think I'm condemning those who make changes in their life in order to get healthy. Far from it. But please don't loose weight so you can have a small stomach or a tight bum. Don't do it to be sexy or beautiful. Do it for longevity, do it to feel good; because you're already beautiful!

The world we live in wants us to think that we are never enough. That in order to be worthy, in order to be beautiful, we MUST be thin. This is so false. Whatever you are now, whatever you have been, and whatever you will be; you are ALWAYS beautiful. It's your unique features, character, life experiences, and heart that make you beautiful in a way that only you can be. Whether you feel broken or on the rise, you are beautiful just as you are. You don't need to be thin, you don't need to be a certain colour, you don't need to have expensive things, or wear makeup, or sport the most fashionable hairstyle. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL just as you are! I mean it. Becoming a bit of a recluse has allowed me to take our society's blinders off, if you will. Once you've done that, once the brainwashed messages are removed, you will see just how beautiful you are and just how beautiful EVERYONE is. Kaley Cuoco and Jessica Alba (on the covers above) are gorgeous! No doubt about it. But so are you. There is only one you. You're special. Never forget it.

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