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Challenging the Thin Ideal

Approximately 50-70% of adolescent girls report feeling dissatisfied with their body. Media representations of the thin-ideal of beauty have emerged as a cause of body dissatisfaction. This post explores a recent research study which investigated an intervention aimed at helping young girls improve body image. Read More


funny the article uses the Dove add which was meant to be a feel good add about yourself and that you are not ugly like you think you are, yet other research shows most people think they are BETTER looking then they are.

Its one thing to get girls to accept who they are, but often such efforts end up in the horrible and frankly, idiotic, realm of fat advocacy.

As a formerly out of shape, fat, person, there is nothing wrong with promoting being the best you can be, and understanding your real, not imagined limitations.

As a former-anorexic (and

As a former-anorexic (and current cross-country runner) I tend to disagree with your assertion that thinness equates to "the best you can be". I consider myself to be in pretty good shape; I run extensively and maintain a healthy weight, yet my stomach still isn't perfectly flat, and I have my fair share of cellulite. When I was anorexic, my body was "perfect", but I could barely run a mile, treated my friends and family really badly (not to say all anorexics are jerks, but, for me at least, it's hard to be perfectly cordial when you're literally STARVING), and didn't have the energy to accomplish any of my goals or really pursue any of my hobbies. Most days, I felt so tired and hungry that all I could do was curl under a blanket and lay there. Since recovering from anorexia, I've started writing book reviews for a couple of websites, volunteering at a living-history museum, and running competitively. Additionally, I've just about finished the first draft of a novel. Oh, and I'm a much nicer person now that I'm not in constant physical pain.

Yet, I've somehow accomplished all of that with an "imperfect" body. Surely, I was being "the best I could be" when I spent my time huddled under a blanket snapping at people and worrying about my weight?

Not to be morbid, but no matter how "perfect" someone's body is, within a year of your death it's pretty much gonna be dust. You're body's not gonna outlive you, but what you do with that body might. And if being a runner means I have thick thighs, so be it. If being a nice person means not starving myself (and, consequently, have a round stomach), then I welcome every "extra" pound that's helped me change my life for the better.

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Alexis Conason, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in practice in New York City and a researcher at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.


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