Saturday, August 13, 2011

Road Trip

We have been on vacation since last Sunday and just got home today, so sorry for the gap in posts.
I realized as we were driving from SLC to San Diego, California that there were thousands of 1-800 lapband, 1-800-GET-THIN, and Weight Loss Management Billboards all exploiting women on them somehow. The photos were noticably altered in photoshopped airbrushing and I am glad that I didn't take pictures of all of the offensive billboards featuring images of women in some crazy advertizing standards stating that women can never be thin enough or good enough. That would be advertizing for bad advertizing in my view.

I also was shocked to see that almost all of the billboards for Lawyers featured men, whereas no women lawyers were represented on them. And I was very sad to see advertisements for Shopping Malls, Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, Hustler and Gentleman's Clubs(we did pass through Vegas) were all featuring women. Not to mention the singles hotline numbers on Billboards featuring women and also the sign that said " Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" or something like that was also featuring a woman.

Am I the only one who thinks this? I just feel that in our society today; much of the advertizing and media exploit women's images even more than we are already socialized to think of ourselves from our parent's, teachers, sisters, aunts and other women in our lives.

Where is it written that women have to be a size 0 to be considered beautiful and healthy? And if it is, it's false and should be taken out of our text books and our notions. I am not promoting obesity here at all and I think it's important to take care of our bodies and put good things into them. I also need to work on that more and not be an emotional eater and run to comfort foods in a time of crisis or when I feel uneasy. I am acknowledging that women with eating disorders; whether they be-Anorexia, Bolimia or binging and purging of other types like excessive excercising, it's largely an emotional and psychological issue. The problem here is not only what many women think of themselves and the way their image looks. They somehow think that if their image doesn't fit a certain standard given to them by society and media that they can't be smart, important or beautiful. I am here to tell you that is a huge lie!

We are daughters of God born in billions of different circumstances with bodies and figures of all different shapes and sizes. Some battle with Genetic Obesity who have parents and families with bigger bones and eating habits which are hard to kick because of the sentimentality of them and the emotional gratification given to us from food. Many of us associate good food with family reunions or family celebrations or church or community venues. Also, when women get together we "go eat lunch", it's a social and emotional need. It seems when men have gatherings they are on the grill cooking, going to a business lunch  or are playing golf or sports together. There are many men who also struggle with body image issues. It's just not so widely accepted in our western society for men to worry about the way they look. So most of them keep quiet about it.

On a similar note, take a look at popular sitcoms. Most of them features a short and itty bitty skinny wife who comes across as a nag and bossy;  and a tall, beer bellied husband who is passive agressive, unhelpful and rude. It seems to me society and several media companies and programs are socializing the next generation very negatively without even knowing it. So what do we do about it? We point things like stereotypes out to our children. We help them understand they should not be judged by their bodies alone and not their charachter and who they are. We teach them to be proud of their spirits, their divine potential, their accomplishments, ideas and aspirations. We help them understand they are more than an image that the world wants to alter. They are choice spirits of our Father in Heaven who came to earth for a special purpose at a predestined time to be here at the time they came into the world.

Let me know what you think of my thoughts.

Chelsea Merkley

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