The rejected body: how media make us hate ourselves

Media daily attack messages about how best to punish his own body. The main targets of this offensive are women. We constantly hear about what our bodies should be under severe control. We are committed to work tirelessly to reduce the size of his body, to make its surface smooth, to deal with its smells and growing out his hair.

The affects of this disciplining of the colossus — fear, guilt and shame — are an important stage in the capitalist cycle. Giving us a revulsion to our "wild", "imperfect" bodies, "beauty" triumphs, offering countless ways to "solve" are: diets, exercises, various consultations, cosmetic products and procedures to surgical modifications.

In the process of "domestication" has only the input, output is not expected. In the current system of imposed ideas of "perfect" there is no such thing as "enough girl" or "pretty enough woman". There is always the image that says so-and-so movie star or top model thin "better than you".

Standard advertising products for the "improvement" of the body uses the technique of comparison: "Before you — "normal" woman. So it looks like the "before" of our drug. But the superwoman. So you will look "after". Similar to the two means for washing dishes (one of which is difficult to remove the fat, and the other is fine), taught that to be "normal" woman is unacceptable, to be free from fat woman — that is the real purpose of life contemporaries.

Dictating "physical norms", media associate images of emaciated people with images of success and enjoyment. So we vyuzivat, where "dwells happiness", simultaneously increasing dissatisfaction. In a situation of permanent discharge of disgust to your own body , we often forget that we are condemned to compete with edited images and unlimited resources for "self-improvement", available at "style icons" whose profession is to look as fashion dictates.

"Normal" body with unique bends and asymmetries is the enemy of ideologues fashion. To implement new ideas haute couture is much more convenient, keeping in mind the abstract flat body as a perfect dummy.

"High fashion" that line of thought about "beauty", creates clothes for real people. She is forcing living people to fit their body under her dress.

Paradoxical and repressive way of thinking extends further, capturing new spaces: children, men, older people are increasingly the target audience of "beauty industry" and ideology degreasing. However, less than all allowed to let the will of your body it women.

In the past few decades, women's double load of career and family work — added a third duty is to tame the body. And if you try to get off the train, having made the decision to love your body, no matter how "normal" it was, "police beauty" will repeatedly return you to the realm of neurosis.


Body without organs, controlling each otherEvery summer with me repeats the same story. When clothing becomes smaller, I offer a place in public transport. I'm the one "ordinary" woman of "average" physique. I have a belly. It is not flat and never was. In different periods of my life, he becomes a more rounded, less. Due to the fact that my belly is not sunken, they often mistake me for pregnant.

And then I see two problems.

The first is that "police beauty" is completely expelled from the "public consciousness" the existence of "normal" bodies, replacing them with images is perfectly smooth, pressed down, toned, fat-free bodily surfaces like no bodies inside.

"As a result, women of reproductive age may not be stomach. And if it is, then she is pregnant and nothing else"

The second problem is how we are invited to understand pregnancy. Every time, listening to announcements in public transport, reminiscent of to give up their seats to passengers with children, pregnant women, the elderly and disabled", I find myself that travelling citizens are divided into two groups: "normal" passengers, and in need of care.

But where does the idea that pregnant women can't decide to stand or sit, and if sitting, then why can't they request to give a place to someone from sitting? Who first decided that along with pregnancy, loses the ability to think and make decisions?

In my opinion, the call to yield place to "weakest" based on the current quasiconcave social protection in post-Soviet countries. Members of society are imagined young, active, healthy and childless, resulting in the urban environment are made with regard to the minimum requirements for the "universal soldier" in the service of the interests of the state. "Other" will automatically become guests in the world of "perfect bodies", capable of operating in hostile space.

But "the rest" is all of us. All people are born with disabilities and live with them in different periods of life. An effective and unpretentious fighter "capitalist front" under favorable circumstances, can only be a temporary condition any person.

Organizing the infrastructure for "capable" and inviting them to give up their seats to others", we only strengthen the inequality and injustice, while continuing to stigmatize and exclude those who need additional conditions for access to public goods. People with disabilities, and passengers with children need the condescending tutelage. They need a barrier-free, in the broadest sense, the environment in which they will not need patronage, but will be able to participate in society on equal terms.

Symbolic care and "deification" of pregnant women taken in our reality, remind me of one of the rituals of a traditional Moroccan wedding cover the bride's hands with henna patterns. As long as the pattern remains in the hands of the bride is released from housework, which will soon become her life-long commitment.

In our latitudes "reconciliation" with the "female" family labour is performed by reverent attitude to pregnant women. Guardianship in transport symbolizes the coming changes. Becoming a mother, the woman is left alone with the puzzle of how to combine fashion the principles of "natural parenting", family work, realization in the professional sphere and the embodiment of "glossy" standards of appearance.

So, for class, racial and gender division of the existing order and adds a bodily dimension, ranking us in the hierarchy of "super-bodies "normal" bodies and "other" phone But if the fear of the "other" body is the legacy of the Soviet tradition to fight the structural causes of the problem and to isolate those who are vulnerable, the fear of "normal" body — the invention of the past two decades.

My mother remembers that in the late Soviet era, "fat" had a positive value, serving as a proof of health and prosperity. We returned from vacation spent in sanatoriums and hospitals, citizens, it was decided to ask: "how many kilos have you gained weight?" Weight gain was considered to be conducted with the use of time.

It's hard for me to imagine my grandparents, whose youth fell on the time of war, daily monitor your weight and count the "extra" calories. However, my mother, after retirement, adopted a new rhetoric relation to the volume of the body, regularly weighed and demonstrates the guilt of "allowing" itself "the guilty pleasure" in the form of "forbidden" food — sweets and fatty foods.

If my mom eats on reflection I belong to that generation which "tries not eat." For me, the bun is "unbelievable food". But I still remember how as a child I "forced" to eat bread. In the course of my life, beliefs about food, their effects on the body and the understanding of "healthy lifestyle" has changed several times. In the era of shortages of bread was available as an important "source of vitamins", the means of strong saturation, the sacred symbol of survival in times of social upheaval.

Reverent attitude to bread gave a sense of respect for peasant labor. In an era of "giratoria" bread "unacceptable evil".

My generation from the culture of "eat what is" quietly moved to a system whose motto is "shut up". And it's not that the food became more and people, absorbing her indiscriminately harm their health in terms of "digital" companies. The fact is the image of the body, which is promoted as the most "coveted" and "healthy."

Meeting with a friend, which are seen every six months, I automatically say "thank you" in her comment "you lost weight". Meanwhile, my complaints about invasion of my purely private sphere "compassionate" passengers, attributing the size of my organs, the meaning of incapacity, often encounter "friendly" recommendation "drill press". In this system of values, I can't be left alone with any body. I "should" reduce its volume, so as not to disturb others "of its kind".

But I don't need more new tips on how to change your body to please the eyes of others, does not need ideas on how to optimize my "mental attitude" to "change its attitude" to the violation of individual boundaries. Placing the problem in a person, we are allowing the unfair social structure remain unchanged. In turn, in this system, there are people whose interests are served by our shattered self-esteem and the desire to comply with unrealistic standards.

The generations coming behind us, learn concerns losing weight from childhood. This understanding of "proper behavior" is not the private choices of free individuals. Every morning, flipping through the news feed, I find evidence of the tireless work "of the police"fat.



War declared by the body

Popular singer recently became a mother and disappeared from the radar of the media in relation to pregnancy, returns with a story about how she managed to lose weight after childbirth. Just over twenty years ago, when I started to work as a journalist, this mediashout was still impossible. Today it is one of the best-selling stories, even for those media who see themselves as "quality".

From these stories we learn about new songs and creative artist search thinner. But we will talk in detail about what the singer did not eat to lose gained during pregnancy weight and how it is practiced. Hard work and incredible discipline pop diva returns to her body the previous volume, and that's what today is understood as her greatest professional achievement and noteworthy newsworthy.

In front of me one of these publications under the title "the biggest weight of the year" that compares the bodies of the stars of show business "before" and "after" getting rid of "excess weight" and explaining that skim the body — now the main focus of public profession. The announcement article was sent to me with my mail:

Slim figure — the subject of dreams of every woman. However, for famous personalities is also a part of the job. The star is not allowed to corrode. And even the birth of children, which is often accompanied by weight gain, not a reason to relax. Famous women are willing to experience all sorts of diets and fitness programs, only to return to stroinosti this message we are given to understand what needs to dream "normal" women, following the current "role models" how to treat food and in what to invest his life energy.

But the continuation of mediatorial about the war with the body, forming an idea of what feelings are "normal" women should feel toward his own flesh. Our attention — a compilation of interviews with specialist/kami massage practitioner, who under the guise of concern about the health of the population stir up disgust in front of "normal" bodies, simultaneously providing themselves with work.

"...A woman with extra weight is rarely satisfied, constant dissatisfaction develops into a depression,"

— the authoritative said one of expertox, translating value of "normal" body in the jurisdiction of psychopathology.

"...50-55 years — menopause and terrible. There is already a woman, if you are not watching him, abruptly turns into a pensioner",

— continuing its reasoning, the specialist, giving a Mature age value is invalid, like to become a pensioner — the worst thing that can happen in life. But it happens to all who live to retirement age!

"Our compatriots, very unfortunately, in 40-50 years look just awful — large, overweight ladies-men".

Critical comments do not avoid men, be which, it turns out, "horrible." Parallel to the approved standard of women's appearance — "on the contrary" in relation to the appearance of men. But if "putting on femininity" requires constant work, does this mean that there is no femininity does not exist?

The General meaning of the subsequent statements is that "by nature" the female figure, slender and toned, but women spoil their overeating, childbirth, lack of fitness and aging. Talking about the irresponsible attitude of contemporaries to the body is summarized as:

"If even little girls have extra weight and problems with blood vessels, to say nothing about adult women".

Looks like a chance not to be subjected to repression by the "fat police" is still in newborns. For how long?



War with the age and marks of motherhood

The current ideology in relation to gender roles explains that being a mother is a "sacred duty" of every woman. Look or be described as a "mother" or "aunt" — a crime under the laws of "fat police".

Thus, the responsibility of the mother in our days connects care not to offend others signs that a mother's job requires great effort and involves physiological processes. Working mothers, women are obliged to work to maintain the myth that motherhood is a pleasure without leaving any marks on the exterior.

Today publicly endorsed skill instant deliverance from the consequences of pregnancy. Like children really began to appear out of the tube, ready to serve the society without any cost.

In a Patriarchal society, women are associated primarily with his physicality, which, in turn, is assessed from the point of view of the existing canons of the appeal. The identity of the woman is reduced to her organs, or rather, as meanings that are endowed with different images of the body in a specific historical moment. To be thin means today to be considered "good", not to be thin means to be considered "lazy", "backward" and "fail".

In this system of values, body representerait not only the "inner world", but belonging to certain social groups.

The meanings attributed to body image, creating the illusion that the problem of low social status can be resolved by creating a "successful" body and its subsequent successful sale in the marriage market or the labor market.

"Success" of the female body is defined by the ability to hide its biological essence. "Successful" body reducing its physical surface and any evidence of proximity to the "wild". The duty of the "cultivated" woman is, in particular, control over the "extra" hair. Unshaven armpits, and "bikini zone" and ankle today get a value of "disgusting" and "obscene" signs with our "uncivilized" past.

Instead of a hairy, smelling, current living by the laws of the bodies we are obliged to present their domesticated counterparts, are maximally spared from the "human". As if we're not metaphorically moved in the virtual space and literally turned into digital postlude".

In this paradigm, denial due to "low natural" aspect of existence, have a new phobia. Psychologists are increasingly referring cases for advice of educated women, as bearers of "proactive" culture regarding fear of pregnancy or frightening feelings "of others inside" during pregnancy, when the physiological processes come to the fore and can't be dismissed as "ugly" signs of belonging to our biological beings.

Communication with a human more soluble in a growing anti-aging ideology, explaining that "ageing well" today means not aging, as if the processes leading to death, the unnatural, "uncultured" and can be cancelled.

If a woman looks like a teenage girl, she attributed to the laziness and complicity in relation to her appearance. At the same time, giving value standard of sex appeal as close to children's bodies, we are simultaneously "fighting pedophilia".

"Beauty," "sees" only the slender body. "Normal" and "other" bodies is often denied in trend clothes, stores with designer styles the "larger" sizes — a rarity. Heroine products of pop culture — often young women or women who look young, "despite his age". Like all the most valuable and important in life happens in the first few decades, followed by only a dark and empty waiting for death.

Looking for women of older generations, who do not strive to meet imposed standards of appearance, I personally see not condoned, but a sabotage campaign "police bodily norms." Ceasing or not starting to lose weight, women Express disdain for the hysteria around body size, gaining space bodily freedoms that are rapidly declining under the impact of the proliferation of biotechnology, which is primarily the stars of show business, to maintain the illusion of the possibility of eternal youth.

Maintaining the cult of youth, we automatically appreciate other periods of life, especially the periods of aging and old age, and without that associated with serious challenges — a decline in physical and social activity.

Thus, the paradox of the "abolition of aging" is that, trying to prolong youth and writing off from the accounts of all that it is not connected, we are reducing the time that can and should be full and satisfying.

This is especially important in a situation of increasing life expectancy and increasing numbers of older people on the planet.


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We're all getting older, our bodies are constantly changing under the influence of natural processes and the external environment. But every time, raising the shield on the topic of the fight against "overweight" or signs of aging, we not only appreciate the experience of our mothers and older women, we deprive ourselves of a right to be in tune with his age and body, multiplying the entropy of the universe suffering.

We really are so concerned about the prosperity of beauty industry"? What's your percentage in this business? published


Author: Anna Shadrin




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