Seeing Ourselves in Media

by Stephanie on May 15, 2014 · 2 comments

in Heavy Stuff

A lot has happened lately and I wanted to share my thoughts.

My friend Brooke’s post about how Shape wouldn’t post her bikini picture because of her loose skin went viral and she was swept up in a media whirlwind that resulted in Shape agreeing to do a post on what massive weight loss really looks like.  I’m proud of her for standing up for what she believes in and the exposure she is getting because of it.  It has certainly sparked a lot of conversation about what the media shows as an acceptable ideal of beauty.

Then another blogger I love, Dacia, posted about how maybe we aren’t looking at this in the right way.  Maybe we should be focusing on moving away from physical appearance as a barometer for beauty and instead look inside.  I love that she shared this perspective because it doesn’t get talked about enough.  That is the ideal isn’t it?

Here is what I think:  We all deserve to see ourselves reflected in the media.

Imagine turning on the TV, the radio, your computer and not seeing anyone that looks like you or sounds like you.  Not a single person.  How would that feel?  Alienating?  I think the fact that we have seldom seen overweight people in magazines is one of the reasons it is seen as unacceptable or unattractive.  Not seeing themselves (and even more, seeing a million ways to change their “condition”) is one reason why bigger people feel inferior or feel like they need to change.

Now what about seeing people with loose skin rather than washboard abs?  What about seeing different races or religions or sexual preferences?  Is it surprising that TV was the first place we saw homosexuality?  Ellen’s sitcom was cancelled because of it and 15 years later every big show has a gay character and we are passing same-sex marriage laws.

We don’t like to admit it but media has huge influence in our society.  It’s affects our viewpoints, probably much more than we realize.  Right or wrong, seeing ourselves reflected in what we watch and read gives us validation.

To live in a world where what you look like doesn’t matter?  I would LOVE that.  A world where you there aren’t whole websites dedicated to making fun of people of a certain size.  A world where weight and race truly doesn’t affect your ability to get a job or a date.  A world where you see more articles and about people who are beautiful on the inside than how people can change themselves to become more socially acceptable on the outside?  I hope we get there.  And I’ll do my part.

Until then I’d like us all to be able to see a little more of ourselves in everything we read, hear, and watch.

What do you think?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin May 15, 2014 at 10:56 PM

I’ve been watching old episodes of What Not To Wear and one thing I LOVE is that they always say to accept how you are and dress to flatter the body you have! I feel like they do a great job of helping people of all kinds

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Stephanie May 16, 2014 at 1:36 PM

I totally agree. They were always very body positive on that show! Wish it was still on :)

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