I am troubled and concerned by a trend I noticed lately on pinterest. Many women have created “thinspiration” boards in which they post pictures of models, actresses, and athletes whose bodies they covet or admire. Not only do I think that these boards are ineffective in helping women lose weight, I think they are harmful and destructive. The media is full of images of the “ideal female body”. Women and young girls are constantly made to feel inadequate as they measure themselves against an unhealthy and unrealistic standard. This in itself is a huge problem, but I find it even more troubling that women seem to be buying into the media’s destructive ideals by creating these “thinspiration” boards. Health and wellness should not be measured by physical appearance. Furthermore, neither should the value of women as people and members of society. Too often, women are made to feel that their personal happiness and satisfaction in life is directly tied to their weight and physical appearance. The idea that creating a board of images of the “perfect body” could help any woman live a healthier life is delusional and misguided. Let’s face it, none of us are ever going to look like Jessica Alba. It’s just not going to happen, and even if it did, something tells me you wouldn’t feel satisfied. Sure, losing weight is an excellent goal, but it is not worth sacrificing your feelings of self worth and value. We all need to focus on how we feel, not how we look. I think this quote from Michelle Obama pretty much says it all:
“As women, we’re used to hearing about fitness in terms of inches and dress sizes. We may know better, but we’re up against near-constant reminders and pressures to look good and take shortcuts to get there.
The truth is, being a healthy woman isn’t about getting on a scale or measuring your waistline—and we can’t afford to think that way. Instead, we need to start focusing on what matters–on how we feel, and how we feel about ourselves.
I started thinking about exercise as an investment in myself instead of a chore, and I started focusing on the example I wanted to set for my girls. My schedule was dominated by career and kids–not to mention a very busy husband–but thinking about exercise this way made it a priority, even if I had to get up earlier to do it.
That’s what being fit meant to me: feeling good inside and out, and taking control of my health.”
As women, we must not let ourselves be controlled or put down by what we see in magazines, movies, or on TV. The next time you are exercising, remember that it is valuable and important not because of how it makes you look, but how it makes you feel.