Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Naked Barbies

Without a doubt weight has been on of THE biggest struggles in my life. I journal every morning, and I can pick up anyone of them and find dozens of prayers, asking God to help me with this problem.

Photos through the years document my struggle. Up. Down. UP.

Most of all, there is this inner desire for PERFECTION. To be perfect. To look perfect.

I’m not alone. This is what my friend, Lucinda Secrest McDowell had to say in Spa for the Soul, "When I was a little girl I spent a lot of time with a naked woman--my Barbie doll ... I guess in many ways Barbie was my first introduction to glamour and fashion and what a grown-up gal should look like ... Yet, if a Barbie doll were a real person, she would be seven feet two with a forty-inch bust, a twenty-two-inch waist, and thirty-six-inch hips. Her neck is twice the length of a normal human's neck.

An average woman is five feet four with a thirty-seven-inch bust, a twenty-nine inch waist, and forty-inch hips. She wears a size 12. In fact 60 percent of American woman wear a size 12 or larger! So there aren't that many real-life Barbies walking around today. Marie Claire magazine reveal these facts in addition to the announcement, "There are 3 billion women who DON'T look like supermomdels and only 8 who DO!"

So what do we do?

Pinpoint the problem. Paula Rinehart, author of Sex and the Soul of a Woman, said: “Women's lives are being shaped by a culture with a sexuality gone mad."

I’ll add this on: Women’s SHAPES are also being transformed by a culture with a sexuality gone mad.

Has your perspective of your body weight been distorted by the media? (It probably has, in some way.)

Here are: “The Average American Woman Dieting & Weight Statistics

The average American woman is 5'4" tall and weighs 140 pounds.

The average American model is 5'11" tall and weighs 117 pounds.

Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women.

Four out of five American women say they're dissatisfied with the way they look.

On any given day, almost half of the women in the United States are on a diet.

Dieting is out of control in the United States...

Almost half of American children between first and third grades say they want to be thinner.

Four out of five ten-year-old children are afraid of being fat.

On any given day, one in four men are on a diet.

Half of our nine and ten-year-old girls say that being on a diet makes them feel better about themselves.

More than one out of three "normal dieters" progress to pathological dieting. One fourth of those will suffer from partial or full syndrome eating disorders.

Americans spend over forty billion dollars a year on dieting and diet related products.

Between five and ten million women and girls in the United States struggle with eating disorders and borderline conditions.

What can we do? Stop comparing.

As God's creations, we all know we are unique and precious to God. Yet why do we struggle with comparing our lives, our grades, our talents (or lack of talents), our bodies with others?

Men may check out women’s bodies, but women do too. Because we want to know how we measure up!

We all do it. We compare. Where we are weak, we see others’ strengths. Why? We lack understanding.

2 Corinthians 10:12 says: “For we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.”

We need to pray for understanding. To see our bodies in light of eternity and our place in God’s creation.

We need to remember that statement that there are 3 billion women who DON'T look like supermodels and only 8 that do.

We need to remember we are beautifully designed by God.

Now, that's something I SHOULD be journaling about. How about you?


Anonymous said...

I, too, struggle daily with how my body measures up to others. I wish all the time I was built differently. One of my sisters gathers her weight in more eye-friendly places than I. We both don't really exercise or eat all that much differently, but I gain mine in a place I'd rather not. It's just the way God made me. It's an extra struggle to keep that area trim, when for my sister, the so-called "junk in the trunk" is sociably acceptable.

Fair? I tell myself it's not. But really I just need to accept the body that I was given.

I try and teach my children a healthy eating lifestyle. But sadly, even at the tender ages of 5 and 9 they are too aware of their looks. It wasn't so when I was that age. I don't remember worrying too much about my body and looks until I was in Jr. High school and High School. And I should have been worrying more about my Algebra homework than how short I could wear my skirts.

I, personally, find the looks of today's supermodels nothing to brag about. But when I go to the store and the only sizes I can find are "0's" it's really frustrating. ZERO is not a number or a size. And a large shirt is so tight, not because it doesn't fit, but because that's the way it's supposed to fit.

I'm rambling now...just really came on to say "good post!"

Sarah Bragg said...

Great post!

I echo your words along with Lesley. True contentment is learned. It is learned through practice. Practice not comparing ourselves to everyone else. My first book was written all about my struggle to find contentment with my body. Thank you for sharing!

Sarah Bragg

Erin said...

Great post! Wow, some of those facts are outrageous. Very interesting to learn about.


P.S. Is that a pic of you? (At the beginning of the post.) You're very beautiful. :)

Jeanette Hanscome said...

Tricia, what an excellent post! Weight is such an obsession in our culture, especially among girls. I love your reminder to stop comparing--to learn to love ourselves the way God created us.

People assume that because I'm thin I never struggle or worry about weight. The truth is that it can easily become an obsession for me. At one point I was 5'8" and 110 pounds but still thought I needed to lose more weight (yeah, I did the anorexic thing). I got to the point where I had to admit that no matter what I weighed I wouldn't be satified. The problem wasn't weight so much as horrible self-esteem. I try to encourage those who stress over their weight, to learn to accept their bodies and focus on being healthy, inside and out.

By the way, your photo is georgeous in this post!

Thanks again.


Tricia Goyer said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Also, Erin, yes, that is me. I just happen to be on a "down" trend. I've lost 27 lbs since April by eating right.

Gee, that really works. Amazing!