First off, I applaud the new healthy body image campaigns. “Strong is the New Skinny”, “Healthy Is The New Skinny”, etc… It’s all great for the public image of health and wellness. Not to mention a powerfully positive message for SOME women.
First, don’t get me wrong, I like seeing positive images of women in the media. I think these campaigns are overall good, and very beneficial to not only women, but society as a whole. That said, I think people need to still refrain from getting too caught up in the hype and messages these campaigns spin. My fear is, despite an overall positive message, they still can paint a false perception of health and wellness, and a skewed view of members in our society.
I recently posted on Facebook the image below in support of the “healthy” body imagery it portrayed:
I’m sure many of you have seen it by now, and most probably see it in a positive light. I know I still do. However, a comment by one of my old clients definitely changed my overall feelings toward the slogan as a whole. Her comment, “Skinny can be healthy too”.
Wow! What a powerful statement, and so very true. When did being thin, or wanting to be thinner become unhealthy? And on that note, why is there a delineation between eating for “health”, and eating for “weight loss”? Is it healthy only if you’re obese and your diet causes you to lose weight, but unhealthy if you’re only looking to lose that last 5-10lbs? And what about if you’re trying to gain weight?
As I said, the campaign’s overall healthy body image message is good. However, the “love yourself” message starts to become a little blurred the more literal the slogans are taken. Is skinny unhealthy? Not necessarily. So, then is working to be leaner unhealthy? Not necessarily. Is someone who’s already skinny unhealthy? Not necessarily. Can you not be skinny, but be healthy? Sure. Can you be strong, but unhealthy? Sure. There’s no line in the sand. Nothing’s black and white. So, where does that leave us?
Basically, right where it always does… with the individual. It’s not about other people, or society, or the media. It’s not about a catchy slogans, or clever marketing. It’s about you, liking you, for who you are, at this moment. Skinny, strong, or not… or both.
** Also note that since writing this post, Dove has revised their campaign to focus more on the “Love” side of things. Most likely in regards to some of the very concerns I just brought up.” **