Monday, August 11, 2014

Statistics That Should Scare Us

I was doing some online research when I stumbled across this website called Find Your True Beauty and I wanted to share some of the statistics they provided because these numbers are startling.

Source: Find Your True Beauty (

- 80% of women say that the images of women on television, in movies, fashion, and the media makes them feel insecure
- 42% of girls in first grade want to be thinner
- 81% of 10-year olds are afraid of being fat
- More than 50% of teenage girls are, or think they should be, on a diet. They want to lose some or all of the 40lbs that females naturally gain between ages 8-14. About 3% of those teens go too far to either anorexia or bulimia.
- Without treatment, up to 20% of those with serious eating disorders die. With treatment the number of deaths is still around 2-3%

Even more startling is the fact that supermodels in the fashion industry are thinner than 98% of American women. The average American woman is 5'4" and weighs 140lbs while the average model is 5'11" and weighs 117lbs. Just out of my own curiosity, I googled those BMIs to calculate them and the average woman has a BMI of 24.0 while models are at 16.3, making them 16 pounds underweight. A healthy BMI is between 18.5-24.9 which means at 5'11" the models should be at least 133 pounds. Now, I know that BMIs aren't always the most accurate because there's a lot of room for error but for my purposes it was serving as a basic guideline.

Either way, we are allowing designers, companies, and advertisements to brand themselves with the images of women who are underweight and certainly not an accurate representation of women. I don't believe it was meant to be harmful but according to these numbers it's doing a world of harm. I mean SIX YEAR OLDS think they need to be thinner! You know what 6 year-olds should be thinking about? Friends, family, cookies, candy, puppies, playing outside, games...I mean the list goes on but the point is they shouldn't be worrying about their weight at all! Ideally no woman should be worried about her weight because it's none of society's darn business what she weighs. It's no one's business as a matter of fact because who cares what a woman weighs? But more importantly, what gives them the right to think they can tell a woman what she should weigh?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: that number doesn't define you. And more importantly, it can't define you. A numerical value as simple as your relationship with gravity tells you nothing about the kind of person you are. We were all created individually and for a purpose that is solely our own, something much bigger than that number. People often stress too much over that number and I used to do it too. But for what purpose? It's not like there's an 11th Commandment: "Thou Shalt Not Weigh over 117 pounds."

At the end of the day, you're beautiful regardless of what image is portrayed by society. Who cares what the girl in the magazine looks like because she's not you and that's meant to be a wonderful thing. You are your own person, you have your own beauty, and your own gifts and talents. I'm 5'1" and weighing in at who-gives-a-crap, and I've learned to embrace the fact that I will never look like the women in the media. And I don't mean accept because to me that has the negative connotation of settling, like I want to look like those women but can't so I just have to deal with it. No, I mean embrace as in celebrate, appreciate, rejoice that my body is my own and no one else's.

So I think it's clear that based of these numbers, change is desperately necessary. I look at my 7 year-old little cousin who is beautiful, bubbly, and a little sassy (but in an adorable way) and I instantly know that I don't want her growing up this way. In fact, I look at all my family and friends, including the guys, and I don't want any of them to feel this way. We are all more than just a number on a scale, inches on a measuring tape, or the size of our clothes. And that is worthy of a celebration.

Who's with me?

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