Thinspiration. Have you heard of it or seen it? It’s supposed to be motivating to get yourself in shape. Especially in places like Tumblr or Pinterest. Pinning images of really thin women, usually accompanied by a workout or some sort of “clean” recipe. People make vision boards with these to motivate themselves. You have to be very careful with them, I think. It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you want to give yourself some kind of inspiration to get moving. On the other hand, the images themselves can lead to body image problems and unrealistic expectations. On Pinterest, I saw this one:
This was repinned many, many times and the worst part? The caption “I will look like this soon”. This made me incredibly sad. This is not what the majority of women will be able to look like unless they naturally have that willowy bone structure (and nothing wrong with that at all) or they have to diet to an extreme. I could never look like the above no matter how hard I tried – it’s just not my body structure.
I have always viewed these with concern and some annoyance.
Then they started messing with lifting. The newest thing? Strong is the new Skinny/Sexy. On the surface, the strong is the new skinny is a good thing because it is encouraging being strong. However, it is often accompanied by a picture like this:
I am annoyed on many levels by this picture. First, this woman is likely not lifting as heavy as what is implied in this photo. It’s also another very difficult standard to try to achieve. They are now selling that you need to be both skinny *and* have a 6-pack, i.e., very low body fat. You know those models that are ripped in the pictures? They don’t walk around like that 365 days a year. Not to mention all the stylists, makeup and lighting to get the perfect shot.
Then, since I am on a roll, why does everything for women have to be equated with sexy? Substitute whatever word at the beginning. Smart is the new sexy, orange is the new sexy, yoga is the new sexy, whatever. How about strong is the new power? Or strong is the new equalizer? Women need to stop thinking of themselves only on the level of being sexy (or skinny). Can you be strong and feel sexy? Sure! There is nothing wrong with feeling sexy, but that is not all you should aspire to. And that’s not what we should be teaching our young girls and boys. Women are so much more than just objects to be judged solely on looks. It’s a small part of the package of a whole woman. Be the best and healthiest that *you* can be with the body you have.
Go ahead, motivate yourself. Just be careful who you use as a role model – and be careful of what little ears and eyes may be hearing and seeing.
Make sure you read more at my fellow AIMers’ blogs for their thoughts on this topic!
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you would like us to address!