70% of women are unhappy with their bodies.
Other surprising (or not?) statistics: 45% of women with normal BMIs (normal, healthy weight range) consider themselves to be overweight. 90% of people with anorexia and bulimia are female. Millions of dollars are spent daily around the world on fad diets and cosmetic surgery. And the saddest stat of all: More than 50% of 5-12-year-olds want to lose weight.
These statistics came from a documentary I found on Netflix on a recent evening. It’s called Embrace, and it’s a film about healthy body image, the media and how we can support each other and love ourselves more. I had this aha moment thinking about HOW.MUCH.TIME so much of us waste thinking about every tiny perceived imperfection or flaw, when that time could be put to much better use doing literally thousands of other things! The ironic part is the woman who made the documentary, Taryn Brumfitt, an Australian body image activist, was part of a bodybuilding competition after she had her last child–and the other women there, who all had the bodies so many of us dream of, were still unhappy, pointing out little areas that need improvement. She realized if these women were still unhappy, what would that mean for everyone else? She says that was the unhappiest time of her life, when she was most obsessed about food. She decided to do something about it. She posted before and after photos online, but in the reverse: her before was her during the competition, and the after was after she had gained some weight and accepted her “after kids” body instead of fighfting it.
Brumfitt then traveled around the world, interviewing woman after woman, some of whom said they were “disgusted with themselves,” and some who are working to change the societal pressure to conform to media’s standards of beauty. One woman had PCOS, a condition that caused her to grow a beard, and instead of continuing to shave and put in all the effort to hide it, she decided to let it grow and ended up loving it, and herself. Another had been burned severely in a fire and became disfigured; when people questioned how her boyfriend could have stayed with her and commented that she was so lucky, she basically said, “I don’t think I’m that lucky. I’m pretty awesome.”
If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, a little girl power or a boost in your self-confidence, check it out and join the movement!