Faced with the unattainable beauty standards promoted by the entertainment and advertising industries, many women have become unhappy with the way they look. They are constantly dieting and trying to alter one part of their body or another. But there is a growing movement to encourage women to accept their bodies as they are and to look beyond the commercial definitions of beauty.
|Eve Ensler in performance|
"For example, you can go to tribes in Africa where they have fattening rituals for brides," she says. "And you come to Los Angeles and you have to be a certain kind of skinny. Then you go to Iran where women are having nose jobs so their noses don't look Iranian. I spent a lot of time in Istanbul, where women are obsessed with getting rid of their [body] hair. They do tons of sugar waxing. They spend their lives just ripping off their hair."
Ensler says the global reach of Western media -- movies, television and magazines -- is changing the concept of 'what's beautiful.' "For example, in India, younger women now are obsessed of being skinny," she says. "It's beginning to happen everywhere in the world. Eating disorders are on the rise in China. They did this poll in Bali where after [the American TV show] '90210' had been on TV for a few months, eating disorders tripled."
Gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes says most of those girls do not need to lose weight at all. "I found through research that between 50 and 70 percent of young girls who describe themselves as overweight are actually of normal weight," she says.
However, many girls feel pressured to look a certain way. "That's a problem, when a young girl is looking in the mirror she's seeing a distorted image," Dawes says. "That's because of this narrow definition of beauty that's portrayed daily, constantly, on television. She is not seeing the beauty and the strength that we may see."
The former Olympian is now spokesperson for Uniquely Me, a program co-sponsored by the Girl Scouts of America to boost girls' self-esteem and help them feel good about themselves. "I've spoken to many young girls and it's very obvious when a girl has a self-esteem problem," she says. "She doesn't want to challenge herself. She's okay with being the spectator because she's afraid of what people may say or think about her if she does not live up to winning or certain standards of achievement."
|Psychologist Nancy Etcoff, author of Survival of the Prettiest (Photo - John Brockman)|
|Playwright Eve Ensler on stage in The Good Body|
If women don't respect their bodies and accept themselves the way they are, Ensler says, they're wasting their resources and missing out on more important goals in life. Instead of fixing their bodies, she suggests, women should start to work on fixing their communities and the whole world.
... Payvand News - 2/26/06 ... --