Lynne posted a comment on my last post (which was about waif-like models) that I think is worth following-up on, because I agree, it is a serious issue. She says:
Serious issue here. Come on, you can't tell me that you didn't grow up with the pressure to be so thin that your bones protrude? All the fashion magazines I remember as a teenager emphasized this image. That has an impact. There must be other women out there who were exposed to that (80's and early 90's) and have a hard time accepting it's not a good look? How many of us have checked to see if our hipbones stick out further than our stomachs? How many of us have felt better about ourselves if we looked in the mirror and saw our clavicles without shoving our shoulders forward? How many of us permanently now stand with shoulders hunched forward from practicing that as a teenager to get "The Look"? If you can say that you weren't and aren't influenced by that, I think you are in the minority. Really, would you look at a realistic nude photo of a woman which shows her real cottage cheese thighs and/or cottage cheese butt and think it looks better than the woman who's so thin that doesn't happen? I'm just being honest here; I think people right now want to jump on the righteous bandwagon, but it's not necessarily the look they would prize for themselves (I'm not saying you are one, I'm speaking more of the fashion industry right now).
I understand that Lynne isn't referring solely to my opinions, but I thought I'd share my experiences on this topic. First, let me clarify a few things about my teenage years. I can only speak for myself here, but I wasn't really exposed to many fashion magazines as a teenager, and we didn't even have cable t.v so I wasn't exposed to any of those fashion shows on MTV and the like. Don't get me wrong, I knew that being thin was much more fashionable than being a "healthy" midwesterner...I wasn't that naive, but generally speaking, fashion was not something I knew much about. Plus, as a pre-teen, I was one of those sporty, lanky, skinny kids - so while I may have been teased for wearing my Lee jeans from Fleet Farm instead of the much more cool/fashionable Guess or Esprit jeans from the store formerly known as Dayton's, I was never teased about my weight (which I know can be traumatic and life-changing for some kids). But once I hit puberty, I started getting all kinds of curves that I wasn't comfortable with, and I added quite a bit of poundage. But I can honestly say that I've never looked in a mirror to see if my hip bones stuck out further than my stomach (although now I will!) - again, don't get me wrong, I was certainly self-conscious about my new curves, my new ponch and my new weight as a teenager (and as an adult), but I guess I never knew about the hip bone/stomach relationship. Nor did I ever once pay attention to my clavicles. I recognize that teenagers are much different now - it's clear they have much more pressure on them to be thin and fashionable. And perhaps I was in the minority as a teenager - if so, I give all the credit to my parents and my friends during those years. My parents never pressured me to be thin, but my family was very active and there wasn't any time of the year that I wasn't heavily involved in sports. And all of my friends were the same way. We didn't spend much time (if any?) looking at fashion magazines or shopping for tube tops, mostly because we never had time - we went to school, went to volleyball/basketball/soccer/softball/etc practice, traveled for games and tournaments, and a lot of us had jobs (I started working when I was 16). And for the record, when I was in high school, I weighed 20 - 25 pounds more than I do now...same goes for a lot of my friends from junior high/high school. In fact, the nights we had away-games during basketball season, we'd go to Subway before we got on the bus to travel, and we'd each buy a "meal deal" - foot-long sub, chips, cookie and a soda - dinner #1. Then we'd play our game, and go out to eat at a fast-food joint on our way home, so we'd eat dinner #2...and ice cream. So long-story short, no, I did not grow up with the pressure to be so thin that my bones protruded. And I'm extremely thankful for that. That kind of pressure came later in life for me...the college years...although I still don't recall ever wanting my bones to protrude. I lost a lot of weight during those years, but those were the unhealthiest years of my life.
And yes, while I hate to admit it, it's true that I'd rather see a nude photo of a thin, non-cottage-cheesy woman than an average/normal woman with some hail damage. It sucks that I feel that way, and it sucks that woman expect men to think differently as well, but it's the truth. But here's the thing - I'd much rather see a nude photo of a fit, muscular female cyclist (or other athlete) than of any thin model with zero muscle-tone. And I'm going to guess that even most of the men reading this blog would agree. (e.g. Do you see the photos that Skibby posts on his blog? He's always posting pictures of hot women, but rarely are they uber-thin and waif-like.)
It's true that there is a lot of pressure for women to be thin - I don't think anyone, male or female, would argue that. And yes, that pressure can sometimes be devastating for women, especially teenagers. But I think there's a huge difference between being healthy-thin, and model-thin. My point for posting that article was that the women in those pictures looked sickly-thin/emaciated, and it's hard for me to fathom that some clothing designers and fashion magazines actually find that attractive and desireable. So I give props to anyone in the fashion industry, a la the aforementioned Spaniards, that are trying to take relatively small steps to make that industry more healthy (e.g. requiring a BMI higher than 18).
I'm curious what kind of "pressures-to-be-thin" other women have experienced. Anyone care to share?
And then there's the obesity epidemic in our country...an even bigger problem...but I'll save that for another day.