Cheerleaders and Body Image
Jul 6, 2013 - 12:18:13 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - A major news affiliate recently published a poll asking readers to vote on whether or not a woman is too fat for her profession. In this case the woman being talked about was a cheerleader. When I saw the tweet come across my Twitter page it sickened me to think this would be a topic that others would consider commenting about or consider answering. Working with eating disorders and young girls who have a brittle sense of self-esteem, this type of comment sickens me. Are we such a shallow society that a woman's competency is based on her body rather than her skills? The woman being talked about is a dancer and very athletic. She is an excellent professional NBA cheerleader. However, her physique is muscular and doesn't match the thin physique of other cheerleaders. Have we become so critical and narrow as a society that we can actually make fun of or eliminate skilled women based on how attractive they are? Does a cheerleader have to fit a certain body criteria in order to be excellent? The cheerleader in question can jump, scream and is as energetic as others on the squad. Most likely, it is because she is not malnourished and has the energy to sustain her exercise needs.
This survey was instigated by a woman, and what is interesting is the majority of the men's comments flattered the cheerleader. They responded that she looked like a healthy, attractive woman. However, girls and athletes who commented personalized the cheerleader's weight and responded that they too could stand to lose a few pounds. Obviously, women and men see this situation differently, but women seem much quicker to attack other women. Do women actually objectify other women more than men, and if women do, is it caused by their own internal body hate or dislike many of them feel? These are questions we should think about and resolve before we raise daughters or sons. Blaming media and men is not the answer. A post such as this no doubt helps engage viewers and may even raise ratings, but what are we telling the millions of women who see it and begin feeling shame about their less than perfect bodies? Below are a few suggestions to help you help yourself with your own body image.
- The first thing you have to do is get a size out of your mind. There is no universal perfect size. Stop reading the magazines that promote anything perfect. Anything perfect is not real.
- Do not say anything negative about your body, hair, or face all day. Replace anything negative you would usually say with something positive.
- When you look at people, instead of noticing their "physical flaws" notice their beautiful aspects. Notice lips, eyes, neck, arms, shoulders, and anything else that is physically beautiful to you.
- Don't let anyone say anything disrespectful about your looks all day. Many women let people talk to them in a disrespectful way. They have grown so use to it, they no longer notice. Today is the day to notice it and make it verboten.
- Move your body; this can be done by engaging in a walk, biking, or dancing.
- Any smell that makes you feel beautiful is a good smell to have in your presence. Women are very sensitive to smell. Sometimes a smell can change our whole mood.
- Sing to "your song." What is your song? That song should make you feel beautiful, happy, sexy, and alive. If you don't have one, you need to identify one and sing it to feel vibrant and beautiful.
- Are you watching a show that promotes something to help you get rid of something ugly? Switch the channel. Advertisements are created to get you to buy their product. They know the power of beauty. Beauty is not for sale, but plastic surgery and treatments are. Beauty comes from feeling beautiful and acting on that thought.
- Feeling beautiful has a lot to do with feeling comfortable about your body. Do you feel like a stranger to your body? Begin touching, exercising, and listening to your body so you know the sensitive parts, the strong parts, and the areas of your body that need more attention. Don't expect a partner to know how to love your body if you don't.
- Take care to smile more when you want to feel more beautiful. Everyone always looks more beautiful when they smile.
A poor body image reflects on our judgment of ourselves as deeply as it reflects on our judgments of others. The time to build a healthy body image begins in childhood, and continues on to adulthood. Society can continue to objectify women if women allow themselves to be objectified. Believing one's looks determines their worth not only limits you, but also limits those you judge unworthy. -Mary Jo Rapini
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