Sunday, October 29, 2006

Skewed Perceptions

Take a moment and watch this video on the Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" site. Is it any wonder our perceptions are skewed when a naturally attractive young woman is primped and powdered into a gorgeous creature, only to be further "enhanced" into an advertising man's (gender designation intentional) ideal?

Advertisers and fashion pushers say they only give us what we want. We (women) like to see the ideal, what we strive for. But that's not what they are showing us, is it? The "ideal" is in fact a digitally created, unattainable level of perfection. Those of us who have stopped comparing ourselves to supermodels shake our heads sadly at the disdain they have for us, those advertisers who would make us feel inadequate in order to gain our business. We can't stop them from creating false beauty, but we can let younger women know the truth. And we can make our voices heard in the one way that advertisers understand – by withholding our money from those who dismiss, disdain, and denigrate any woman, any age, any size.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Do We Really Need This Kind of Help?

First, a disclaimer. I am far from petite and could even charitably be called Rubenesque. Fat fighting has been a fact of life for me since I was 10. And sure, if a pill appeared that was safe and that would melt away unsightly pounds overnight as I slept, or during the daytime for that matter, I'd be first in line. But I've never kidded myself about the basic truth that what I eat affects my weight. Some people are blessed with faster burning metabolic engines while I'm equipped to survive famine. So it goes.

The idea of stomach-stapling surgery to lose weight has always made me a bit squeamish, but I'm not a candidate so I can't judge what it's like for those who choose this option. Such a drastic solution – and the need for it – are at once scary and discouraging. But what got me going on this was an article on CNN announcing that soon it will be easier and cheaper to get this kind of surgery, making it an accessible option for more people. Instead of the longer healing time of incisions, doctors can now use the natural orifices of the digestive tract (the mouth and the other end) to insert tubes through which they perform laparoscopic surgery. It's lower risk and lower cost, and may open up a whole new group of candidates for this bariatric surgery. That means that people who now are not obese enough might be able to "take advantage" of this medical breakthrough.

Sorry, but to me his concept is vaguely reminiscent of Roman banquets with people eating to excess and then vomiting to make room for more. Let me eat everything I want – who cares? Supersize me, sure. I can always get my stomach stapled and lose weight that way. Now if only I could silence the old refrain that keeps playing in my brain: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.