This Book

I’m curious to see the perspective, given that it was published in 1997. I’m curious to see what the most “up to date” thoughts about women’s bodies were at that time, and see how much has changed — or not — in the past 15 years. I will update more once I’ve read it.



Photo Credit: LuLu Quote

If we define body image as “not how you actually look but how you feel about the way you look,” one of my main interests is why people feel a certain way about they way they look.

Things I’ve observed:  

  • Our feelings about how we look develop over time based on our individual experiences and also as a result of societal beliefs about women’s bodies.
  • Bodies are both personal and public. Our bodies belong to us but are on display and observed by others. Body traits such as age, size, gender and race are clearly visible, and cannot easily be changed.


9 Days into my personal blogging challenge. I’m starting to enjoy the habit of writing in here everyday. Yet I still often feel like I’m rambling. Time to get back to basics…

This blog is a conversation about:

Who: Women’s body image

What: I liked the definition of body image from picture link in yesterday’s post, “Body Image is a phrase used to describe how one perceives their physical body…“body image” is NOT how you look, it’s how you feel about the way you look.

When: I look at our current cultural views about women and body image, as also look at recent history to examine how these views have evolved.

Where: I focus on American women and American cultural views related to body image.

Why: I feel this is an important topic that currently impacts the majority of American women (myself included), regardless of what their body actually looks like. I also want to examine the reasons Why so many women have a negative body image, and also focus on..

How: How women can improve their body image.


My favorite part from s.e. smith’s article at XOJane that I recomended yesterday:

But here’s the thing: Who defines a “real” woman or girl? Because this is dangerous territory that Seventeen is treading on. Will the magazine actually include women and girls with a truly diverse array of sizes and backgrounds? Will it include women with disabilities? Will it include women of all races? Will it include trans women and girls? Will it include butches alongside femmes? Will it include girls with natural hair?

It’s something that’s always bothered me about the “real women have curves” campaigns intended to promote body positivity. Because the fact of the matter is that, uh, real women are women. Some of them have curves and some of them do not. Curves are irrelevant to womanly status and saying otherwise suggests that women without curves, or women who don’t have “definition” in their shape, aren’t “real.”

I want girls of all shapes, sizes, races, and backgrounds to be able to open magazines like Seventeen and see themselves because they are real. And I fear that some aren’t going to see themselves — to quote Seventeen, “never have, never will” — because they don’t fit within the definition of “real.” Not just the extremely narrow definition created by the fashion industry, but also the limited definition created in the name of body positivity, one that stops just short of including all women.

I know I’ve been guilty of buying into the “real women have curves” defintion of beauty in the past. It’s something I strive to stay aware of — that our society pits women against each other based on our appearance in an “us” vs. “them” way. When in reality we are all part of the same “us.” It is up to me to choose whether or not I want to use language that reinforces divisiveness. I choose not to!

This article by s.e. smith at XOJane about Seventeen Magazine’s pledge to feature un-photoshop enhanced women on their covers is fantastic. It succinctly covers many of the ideas spinning around in my head about various body image topics in a way I aspire to do in the future. I strongly encourage you to go read it!