There’s a photo floating around Facebook that’s getting a lot of attention.
Looks a little something like this:
I’m not gonna lie. When I first saw it I thought, “Wow. That top photo is scary. I so much prefer the bottom image.”
Which, for me, is really a step in a healthier direction. Considering in the past I would’ve tried to make my body be like the top photo, even though my shape isn’t designed to look like that at all! But, I digress…
As I sat with myself and looked at the photo, I had the awareness that my original thought was still one of judgment. It still kept me in a thin vs. fat mindset. An us vs. them mentality.
And anytime you’re in us vs. them, there MUST be an enemy. (Click to tweet.) The enemy in the photo above is the Victoria’s Secret image. The thin women.
So, here’s my question: Why? What did those women do? For all I know they could be photo-shopped like crazy or simply naturally thin.
And that’s the point I’m trying to make. Health comes in all shapes and sizes. There are women out there who are tiny. Who have small frames and long, lean bodies. Just like there are women out there who are short, have a booty and a more muscular build (like me!).
Our society seems obsessed with making one better than the other. And it drives me mad.
Aren’t we all women (and men)? Don’t we all have something to offer beyond our bodies? Don’t we all struggle? Have dreams? Hopes and desires?
YES. We ALL do. How can we support that today?
Please know, I do celebrate Dove’s photo above for their choice to include more diverse shapes, but I think we can go farther. Next time let’s include older women, thinner women and maybe even some more ethnicities.
But, hey, we gotta start somewhere!
In the comments below let’s have a conversation. What are your thoughts? Do you get triggered by ads like the one at the top? Are you a thin woman who feels judged? Are you a heavier woman who feels judged? Do you base your beauty on being better/thinner/prettier than those around you?
Interesting thoughts about the Dove campaign, Amber! Let’s keep expanding the definition of beauty + acknowledging our own beauty and the beauty in each other!
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you Amber!!
Liz DeAngelis says
WOW .. thanks for including me in the ad Amber .. i wear my aging body proudly …. and yes ,, the Victoria’s Secret ad is sad …. so sad …. the girls look as thin as my granddaughter’s Barbie dolls !!!
totally agree with you Amber, there is no need to judge or make another “wrong ” in order to make yourself right. we need to get to a place where our minds look at a variety of body and celebrate each one for its uniqueness. Thats it full stop no comparisons..
Carolyn Ziel says
Great point Amber. Bill and I are here looking at this picture he said, “none of the women in the bottom picture are fat in any sense, they look great, they look the way a woman should look” and of the top picture, “they look like were pulled from a concentration camp” he used the word remnants, which is pretty gross….but that’s the point… he said, it’s disgusting…
I love the point that you bring up about judgement, we are quite conditioned in our society … xo
Vicki James says
I just LOVE the Dove women…The Angel clones almost looked distorted! So embrace all women!
Keep up the healthy body- image work, Amber. You are a blessing!
I was thinking the same thing when I saw this pic floating around and I agree that it’s an “us vs. them” mentality. However, I think some people are missing the point on what you are trying to say. Yes, the Victoria Secret models are thinner than the women in the below pic, but you shouldn’t judge them either. Who knows if they are photoshopped (most likely) or are that naturally thin. There are actually real women who are small-framed and are thin. Does that mean they can’t be included in the below photo and be deemed Real?
i think the women in the top picture are beautiful. and i think the women in the bottom picture are beautiful, but they are both pretty extreme. the women on top are underweight and the women on the bottom are no doubt all technically overweight, and probably none of the women up there can do a pushup. i’m into health. healthy food, significant exercise. i have curves but i have muscles. that’s what i think is healthy and beautiful
I am so happy you addressed this. I said the EXACT same thing when I saw the photo – ALL body types are beautiful and we must include them. Otherwise, the pendulum will keep swinging back and forth in society (which means the pendulum will also swing internally for many women). I’m so grateful you’re encouraging so many to love and accept ALL bodies, shapes, and sizes whether it’s their own or someone else’s. Love to you, Amber!
I’m with you 100% Amber although I will say I had a moment this past weekend of us vs. them mentality as well. Someone was wearing a t-shirt with a graphic about skinny models on the runway and in truth it made me laugh. I think many women who aren’t the model type feel like they have to stand up for themselves to be heard or seen as beautiful. We are bombarded with particular images of beauty by the media and unfortunately its not all encompassing. And the conversation of beauty and health are two separate conversations which unfortunately get tied together. We are all God’s children and hence all have something to offer and are all beautiful creatures.
Leah Cevoli says
Amber- I loved this post and posted it on my FB.. where I immediately got a comment from one guy who said
“the dove girls alone look fine, but next to the VS girls they look dumpy”
and another guy who said “campaigns like this encourages the attitude that they deserve something for nothing. ” and went on to say “Everyone has a preference, some like skin and bone while others like theirs to be plump” as if we are an ITEM to be chosen over by ‘everyone’ aka MEN.
THEN I had a woman chime in about how you (your point about calling them all healthy), is inaccurate as you cant tell by viewing and went on to debate me about the importance of self-love at ANY size (an issue you know I’m struggling with)….
We debated back n forth about both photos, and I tried to explain that you cant swing the pendulum either way.. no judgement for either photo.
I got so irritated I finally told her “we’re not going to agree and this is a very very personal subject for me”…
THEN she emails me privately and says she used to be heavy and she thought the article was great.. yet that’s not what she said publically…
I am so agitated right now. Which I guess , is a good thing, cause it’s making me want to talk about this topic even more. Grrrrrr.
You know the problem I had with the VS ad was the lack of diversity in body shape. You are so right that there are long lean women in the world and they should be celebrated too! You make a fabulous point and thank you for putting it “to paper” as it were. All the best!
This is so great Amber! I couldn’t agree with you more!
Educated Savage says
I’ve seen this image pop up a few times in my stream and I’m glad to see it, but there’s one thing that makes me crazy and it’s that, as women, we are taught that our value can only be determined through competition with each other. We’re always comparing ourselves to other people! We need to learn to step back, look at ourselves without conjuring images of other people, and truly love what we see. Then we’ll be free! ((Heheheh. Sorry, I can really rant sometimes)) I’m SO spreading your graphic, though!
sorry….but as a woman who has been in both body frames….as long as the stick thin person (as I once was) eats healthy, exercises, does not have an eating disorder and is not that weight in order to be something for someone else she should never be called names like anorexic, etc!!! There are some girls and women who are perfectly healthy and are made fun of and chastised for having a “stick thin” figure! That is just as unfair as making fun of those who are overweight! No matter what we chose to believe….many families create situations that result in overweight children (as well as adults) and we really need to stop accepting overweight bodies as acceptable unless of course they have a low BMI, good blood pressure, exercise at least 3 times a week, eat healthy foods and quantities and are not in danger of becoming diabetics!! Yes we do gain weight as we get older but I will be the first to admit…..my weight gain came from over eating, lack of exercise, age and endless excuses and denials!! While all those women may be beautiful…..I can definitely see myself in a few of them and I know they can definitely use some changes that would be life changing! I have started eating better, exercising and trying to reduce my stress…..it has not been easy and it takes alot of time and perseverance….but it’s slowly paying off!! Aside from featuring these women….my teen-aged daughter and her friends wanted to know why Dove didn’t feature beautiful physically toned (not model stick thin women) women who are examples of good eating and regular exercising? They want to know why Dove is joining the hype to say it’s ok if you’re overweight because you’re beautiful……OF COURSE they’re beautiful but the key description when their doctor checks their weight is the word “OVER” weight…..We need to not only be accepting of all people but we also need not condone bad behavior! I don’t want to be thinner for any reason except to be rid of the killer fat on my body! The fat that will choke mt heart, my arteries and eventually bring me poor health or death….someone should show what all these models hearts and arteries look like and what their bodies look like right under the skin…..it would not be pretty!!!!
Joni Lowe says
YES! In order to create love for ourselves, we need to love all others – the skinny, large, tone, super fit, heavy, and adorable women out there.
Great blog post Amber.