Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Melissa McCarthy, Photoshop, and the Media's Message

It's rare when I don't come across at least one article that I find, if not 10, I want to comment on because I'm so tired of the unhealthy messages perpetuated by advertising. Now, to blame advertising entirely is to give it far more credit then it deserves and ignore the larger issue of patriarchy and how keeping women preoccupied with how they look, attempting to attain bodies not everyone can posses, is a major tool to continue the dichotomy between acceptable and not, beautiful and not, skinny and not; yet, the message of health gets thrown around often and it's not exactly accurate when used. Over concern of someone's health is displayed with overweight people and the epidemic of obesity. Yet, the truth of the matter is, that not all fat people are abundantly, if at all, unhealthy. Brace yourself for this one: not all fat people want to be skinny. Say what?! No, it's true. Let's not misconstrue the message though. Do I think skinny people want to be fat? No. But can we please STOP associating fat with being terrible, lazy, ugly, and unhealthy; it's as if to say that all skinny people are (healthy), which is a load of bullshit.

So what about Melissa McCarthy? The new movie she is in called The Heat has raised some serious photoshop choices that are impossible to ignore. The buzzfeed article displays as much confusion and without saying much, it says it all.
Buzzfeed Image

Buzzfeed Image
It's safe to say that more then a few "touch-ups" were done. Why is this still acceptable when so many find fault with it? Why are we perpetually shown images that we (women) should easily be able to replicate on our own, oh, and in five minutes? At the bottom of the article was this video:

Which made me think about this TEDtalk video of Golda Poretsky, a body acceptance and health at every size activist.

Personally, I have swung from both extremes of disordered eating and the thing that stands out in Golda's talk, is the scale dependency self-esteem is not a healthy way to gage one's worth. I also don't believe weight loss "doesn't work." Dieting doesn't work; been there, failed that. What's hilarious in the not-so-funny-but-ironic-kind-of-way is when she mentions the four healthy habits people should follow, and no matter what one's weight is, life expectancy is the same. The four healthy habits: don't smoke, drink little or not at all, eat 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and get exercise of minimum 15 minutes a day. Yet, overconsumption of alcohol is glorified, commercials for prepackaged, processed, quick and easy food is wedged in between the commercials for makeup, hair products, weight loss products, etc. Do you know how many people suck down a cigarette before or after the gym? Plenty. But the message continues to be: there is a quick fix for your "problem." How you look is a problem, how you eat, what you eat, when you eat, how much you weigh, how often you exercise, did I mention how you look is a problem, and while smoking is becoming less publicized, but alcohol isn't going anywhere. 

The truth is, there's no quick fix. You know this is when someone would obnoxiously say, "They say anything worth having doesn't come easy," or some equally totally annoying cliche. But, at the end of the day, it's kind of true. So while I continue to learn how to forgive myself for past mistakes or choices, I also try to live in a place of compassion with where I am, and a willingness to start making better choices, just for today. 


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