Body acceptance is a topic that is multi-faceted; it simply cannot be covered in one article. There are an overwhelming number of variables, whether environmental, psychological, sociological, cultural, etc. that come up when speaking about this issue. And one of the most controversial influences is that of media.
For as long as media has been around, there have been articles, newspaper ads, magazines, TV commercials, DVDs, billboards, and infomercials that make a person very aware of every single “flaw” they may (or may not) have. We’re blatantly encouraged to firm up, slim down, de-wrinkle, lift and separate – and do it all with a smile (and apparently with the money that grows from the money tree out back).
Celebrities have it the worst
Every single move celebrities make is scrutinized. Mothers are encouraged, and even expected to have their size 4 frames back in shape, just weeks after giving birth (because they have nothing else going on at that time, right?). And somehow (i.e. with the help of personal trainers and professional chefs) they do it. And if they don’t, they’re torn apart.
Very few of these men and women talk about their struggles with body image, for surely that would be a sign of weakness. But, they’re people too. And some of them have spoken out publicly about their struggles.
The latest buzz is around Miss Lady Gaga. She’s been a fan of the spotlight since her arrival to mainstream pop culture. She’s worn a dress made of beef and has arrived to the Grammys in an egg, cross-dressed for the MTV movie awards. And as annoying as many people think these publicity stunts are, we have to give Gaga some credit.
When she’s not performing whilst covered head to toe in blood and sequins, she’s doing her best to make great strides in the area of tolerance and acceptance. She’s helped further the cause for the LGBT community, has met with President Obama to discuss anti-bullying legislation, and has put her most intimate life details out there for everyone to judge (or embrace).
Gain weight and you’re out?
Last week, Gaga started A Body Revolution, in response to the judgments made against her recent weight gain. The Revolution (signup required) shows pictures of her (in her skivvies) and she talks about her struggle with anorexia and bulimia. She invites members to post similar pictures, and to openly talk about their “imperfections.”
“May we make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous,” she stated.
You say you want a revolution?
And although this is a very healthy message, some people are cynical that this is just another publicity grabber for Gaga. Some agree that being accepting of oneself if a great goal, but are afraid that it will do no good to look for approval from a pop star.
Personally, I think, regardless of the fact that she’s rich and famous, the woman is clearly brilliant, and she has done so much for her fans. She’s actively trying to promote acceptance – would her cause be less genuine or advantageous if she were poor?
Can celebrities be successful in promoting body acceptance? Often, they’re part of the reason we push, plump, lengthen, and lacquer ourselves with products. Is this all too hypocritical? What are your thoughts?