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If you're a woman who's searching for physical perfection while also battling poor body image, join the crowd. For today's blog, I invite Leslie Goldman, author of the recently released, Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth About Women, Body Image, and Re-imagining the "Perfect" Body to be my first guest blogger and share her thoughts on this important subject.
Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth About Women, Body Image, and Re-imagining the 'Perfect' Body
To learn more about this book and topic, click here:
Leslie Goldman, MPH, weighs in:
While Dr. Diet area of expertise, obesity, is skyrocketing at an alarming rate, so, too, are other eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 7 million women and 1 million men suffer-and those are just the individuals who have been diagnosed...Imagine how many others struggle in silence, or battle poor body image on a daily basis, looking in the mirror and hating the way their beautiful bodies look or allowing a silly number on the scale to rule their day. Not even celebs are immune: As former model and advertising guru Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D. once told me, "I've heard that even Cindy Crawford has said, 'I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.'"
When we are naked, we are at our most vulnerable-physically and emotionally. That's one of the reason's I decided to "set" my book in the women's locker room, where I spent five years interviewing and observing scores of women-from three-year-old preschoolers who refuse their juice and cookies because they're "on diets" to a 91-year-old yoga instructor. I started to take note of the insults women would hurl at themselves and between each other, the way they would, as I mentioned, step on the scale and allow that number to decide the fate of their day. In a culture where women are essentially trained to loathe their bodies, it wasn't long before I had a journal filled with anecdotes and stories - some of them disheartening, some inspiring, but all poignant.
Take, for instance, the attractive, slim twenty-something woman who approached me from behind as I applied my lipstick in the mirror one evening. She wore a bikini, apparently ready to hit the hot tub. Just as I thought, "Wow, I wish I looked like that in a metallic string bikini," the woman slapped her thighs and shouted out in disgust, to nobody in particular, "Ugh – I'm so FAT!"
Was she searching for some sort of sick camaraderie from me? Or was this self-deprecating comment merely rhetorical? Regardless, the message was clear: This woman hated her body, imaginary flaws and all. And in a society in which women are bombarded with images of physical "perfection," from magazines, from music videos, from advertisements, is it any wonder we're so hard on ourselves?