Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, women who struggle with their weight (and dieting), tell us all the time that they feel disconnected from their bodies. They describe the disconnect as intentional. Imagine walking around all day just living in your head, doing everything possible to ignore the vessel that essentially houses your being. Never looking at their reflection in a window or standing before a full length mirror. Anything to ignore what they perceive to be the bain of their existence – a less than perfect body.
This week in an Australian paper there was yet another study published which speaks to the fact that a very high percentage of women – even those at healthy weights – who feel that their bodies are so outside the acceptable norm. The study surveyed 15,000 Australian women and uncovered that the majority felt bad about their weight to the point where they would actively avoid their own reflection.
Academic Lily O’Hara* is baffled by attempts to shame women into leading healthier lives.
“People tell me all the time they hate looking in the mirror or they don’t have a full-length mirror at home, and it is a symptom of deep dissatisfaction,” she said. “They are afraid it might confirm their innermost fears – that their body does not meet the socially constructed ideal being portrayed by the beauty industry and now, disturbingly, by the health industry.”
What that norm is, I suppose, depends on what magazines you read, television shows you watch or movies you go to…because more than likely you’re not coveting the body of the woman next door. And why not?
*Ms. Ohara is a lecturer in public health at the University of the Sunshine Coast.