Tuesday 2 August 2011

Must I diet, just because I’m a woman?

I was not planning to post again today, and indeed hadn’t intended my next post to be about this, but I was thinking about this yesterday, and a friend pointed something out to me today that has inspired me to write this.

I have always been rather against all the pressure put on people in general to look a certain way, being truly disgusted a few years ago when I saw an advert for cosmetic surgery claiming to be the answer to making you happy ready for Summer, or something along similar lines. Now, I understand that for some people having surgery to correct something they believe to be a defect genuinely can make them a lot happier, but to project this idea to try and sway people into having such surgery is just wrong, in my opinion. Why must we all look the same in order to feel beautiful? I am of the strong belief that everyone is beautiful.

Now, I was reading a newspaper yesterday that had an article about how unhealthy snacks that you can buy at the cinema are (no kidding!). It was clearly targeted at women, and when giving the values for how many calories and fat content was found in the different snacks they related this to the percentage of a woman’s daily allowance. Now, I’m well aware that this could well have been done purely to make the findings sound worse as women are meant to consume less calories and fat in a day, but it just seemed to be re-enforcing a gender stereotype which is particularly unhealthy. I’m not suggesting that we should be gorging ourselves on unhealthy food, not at all, but why must it always purely be directed at women. We are not all on diets, and we should not be made to feel as though we should be. My feelings on this were further incensed when my friend informed me of an advert she had seen earlier about a new health drink, one for men, one for women. The male one was advertised for its beneficial qualities, the women’s one as low in calories.

It saddens me how many of my friends feel they need to lose weight when, in fact, if they lost much weight they would be underweight. Why are women made to feel like being a size 12 is fat? And why is dieting always pushed as the way forward. I have never been on a diet in my life but exercise regularly and don’t live off junk food, and I’m a size 8/10. Diets are often not very healthy, and I strongly believe that it is much better just to try and live healthily, exercise in whichever way you find most fun, and try not to only eat junk food.

The idea that it is only women who worry about these things is also somewhat antiquated and entirely untrue. I have many male friends far more concerned with dieting, etc than I am. Must they be made to feel overly effeminate because they want to be healthy and look good (in the way in which society tells us to)? This gender stereotyping seems unhealthy and unfair on both women and men.

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