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Thinspiration?

You may or may not have heard about the “Thinspiration” controversy of late, in which women from all over the world have started online communities solely to promote severe weight loss through degrading messages and images of high fashion models and celebrities. This past spring, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram have banned such blogs and visual boards with hopes to curb the widespread epidemic of such destructive outlets.

Over the past few years, the fashion and beauty industries (what many would say are the major contributors of these overwhelming statistics) have attempted to take a few steps in a positive direction.  In 2006, Spain created quite the stir during Fashion Week by not allowing models below a normal BMI to walk the runways.  This June, Vogue claimed to begin a health initiative featuring ‘healthier’ models. And Christine Haughney of the New York Times notes how Seventeen’s recent Body Peace Treaty has elicited a thunderous response as readers cheered the publication’s promise to “never change girls’ body or face shapes” using Photoshop.

As hopeful and promising as these initiatives are or may sound… are they enough? The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) says that more than 10 million females and 1 million males suffer from eating disorders in the U.S. Other studies indicate that more than 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance. Recent opinions ask whether Tumblr/Pinterest/Instagram’s ban has truly helped or whether pro-ana and pro-mia (pro anorexic and bulemic) sites will simply manifest “Thinspiration” on different platforms.

So, what can we do about it? Verily is inviting and encouraging women to become the best version of themselves – to be truly healthy in mind, body, and soul. As unique as we all are, so too are our natural body shapes. We hope to create a space in which women can make peace with their bodies. Who are the women in the media we can look to for examples of healthy body image?

I challenge all of you, including myself, to begin living as the role models we so desperately need – one by one.

 

(Image via Sean Christopher Photography)

 

By: Janet Sahm

- Co-Founder and Style Editor. Nothing is more exciting to Janet than discovering and celebrating true beauty; whether that be through spontaneous photography, delighting in thrift store treasures, or simply being inspired by cherished girlfriends, women who know what is truly important in life. After interning for over a year at Elle Magazine, writing for Elle.com as well as other online venues, Janet has a new found passion to explore fashion’s ability to enhance and highlight a woman’s irreplaceable worth.

6 Comments

  1. Maria says:

    Beth Ditto of the band The Gossip is my ultimate body inspiration! She oozes confidence I will never have, onstage and off. She is proud of her body shape and makes strides to create clothing and media spaces for women of her size. Plus, she has made it as a plus-size woman in a business that puts emphasis on size and conventional “sexiness”. Her advice is so inspirational: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/nov/23/gender.uk1

  2. Sunny says:

    I think as women, being role models for young girls is our duty. We need to inspire girls to love themselves. We need to inspire girls to know that they are beautiful in their own ways. They don’t need to cake on make-up. They don’t need to have the most up to date clothes. They don’t need to hate themselves because they don’t look like super models.

    My freshman year of high school, after being called fat (even by my own mother) and ugly, I developed an eating disorder. I would have my older friends buy me diet pills. I would pop those, not eat and go work out. I was 145 lbs (I’m 5’7) and 10% body fat. That messed me up beyond belief. I had trouble with my menstrual cycle, was emotionally unstable, and eventually passed out during gym. It was only then that I was approached by my TRUE friends and got back to a healthy weight.

    I gained weight rather quickly after moving during high school and went in the complete opposite extreme. Not, not eating. But, doing nothing BUT eating. I got up to 205.

    I yo-yoed, AGAIN and lost the weight. Down to 155. I did it the healthy way this time. BUT, once I got off of my diet, gained weight back. (Slowly. But still gained it back.)

    Now, I’m back up to 205…And you know what? I’m FINALLY happy with myself. I’m almost 26 years old. I’m a size 16 (44-35-45), pass all my medical tests with flying colors, have learned to embrace my hour-glass figure,find clothes that accentuate what I have been blessed with (which, let me tell you, is not always what is hot in the fashion world), and am loving it. I have a husband who is head over heels in love with me, and says he loves me at this size more than any other. (We have been together from my big, to small, to big again; 7 1/2 years) It’s refreshing to finally be at this point in my life.

    Point being, it took me 26 YEARS to be happy. It’s now my job to tell girls that it SHOULDN’T take them this long. They are all special. They are not objects. They are not UGLY. They do not need to change themselves to suit media, societal, and cultural biases. They need to love who they are!

  3. Actress Kate Winslet: She has a beautiful, curvy body AND she speaks out about having a healthy body image.

  4. I’ve decided years ago that I’m not going to wait until inner beauty and style with dignity are in vogue. I began with dressing every day like a living fashion spread for true beauty. Later I created a company that first appears as a typical online jewelry boutique but in reality is a company with a mission to take a culture saturated with all things dirty and indecent and to counteract it with dignity, gracefulness and poise. Every pin on Pinterest, post on Facebook, and tweet on Twitter is done after conscious and decisive thought to uphold a higher standard. Every product image and blog post seen on my website was designed in the hope that one day purity and virtue will be the new norm.

  5. Jess Smith says:

    Striking down thinspiration boards and blogs is good. Promoting healthier models at Spanish Fashion week, Changes at Vogue, and the Seventeen Body Peace Treaty is better and more visible, but they are only bandaids on a dreadful wound–the deep and gorgeous dignity of woman.

    Women do not know they are loved. They do not know they are beautiful and powerful in a way different but equal to men. I should say we, because this includes me. We can pin all the inspirational quotes on Pinterest about our worth, and pray and work to live the reality of our goodness, but we also need to receive love from others. This is a monumental task for many women.

    Conrad Baars wrote beautifully on the need for affirmation (i.e., true selfless love), and healing from this emotional deprivation, and so many other feminists have done the same, to include Gianna Molla, Edith Stein, & of course Karol Wojtyla!

    I think the movements in magazine and fashion circles are good, but will not take root unless we love each other and become part of serious efforts to honor the full dignity of woman–body, mind and soul.

  6. VERILY says:

    […] our Thinspiration post last week, we were so uplifted by readers’ voices and stories as they not only […]

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