Do Women Take Body Image Cues from Models? – New York Times
That’s where we gather our media-related body image issues: celebrities. Sure, we all know the name of a model or two, more for the fashion-obsessed, but, for the most part, we compare ourselves to actresses, musicians, and singers more than anyone else.
I don’t know how I feel about France’s new law. I’m sure that a large percent of extremely thin models are unhealthy since statistics show that the percentage of women who are naturally that small is, well, small. The chance that they are all skinny and healthy is…um…slim. (No pun intended…really.)
I do know this: while their intentions are well-meant, they’re not hitting the root of the problem, which goes well beyond actresses and models.
A pledge not to indulge in ‘fat talk’ precludes anything relating to body image, whether that’s commenting that a friend or colleague has lost weight, complimenting someone’s new shoes or analysing celebrity physiques. Traditionally, these topics are the remit of female conversation, which explains why a social media search shows the vast majority of participants in Fat Talk Free initiatives are women.
“Fat” is not something you are, it is something you have.
Do not tell her she looks “thin.” Tell her she looks beautiful.
Even better, tell her she looks healthy.
Compliment her interior qualities, her intelligence, her kindness, her acceptance.
Do not suggest ways she can change herself. If she asks your opinion on a change she may want to make, tell her she’s perfect the way she is, and then just listen.
If she refuses to eat because of her figure, don’t fight her, just remind her that it’s healthy to indulge a little from time to time, and remind her, again, that she’s perfect the way she is.
When she’s down on herself, just listen, and tell her that you respectfully disagree.
It’s all very simple; love her, and be respectful. Most of the time, when we engage in poor body talk and body image, we just want someone to listen. And no matter how important we know it is to love ourselves, we’re human. We need to know others love us as well.