What is wrong with these images?
Since I identify as a woman, I will speak to how messages like the one above are confusing and conflicting. As for the guys, I refer you to Dan Solomon who talks about the messages surrounding masculinity and man-cards, so I suggest you give that a read.
So this is apparently how all women should be: Be thin, but don’t lose your curves. Be curvy, but don’t be fat. Have muscles, but don’t look like a man. Be toned, but not too skinny. Be sexy, but not slutty. Be outspoken, but don’t overdo it. Be confident, but not arrogant. Be successful, but not intimidatingly so. Be yourself, but cover up your flaws. Blah blah blah, yada yada yada. You get the point.
At the end of all that, do you know what I learned? Damned if you and damned if you don’t.
Y’know the funny thing about weight? There’s no one way about it:
All these lovely ladies weigh 154lbs. This is definitive proof that your weight and appearance are not necessarily correlated, as well as the ignorance of calling someone fat. We all carry weight differently, so don’t live your life by some outdated chart. Find a number that makes you feels good and remember that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. Limiting ourselves to attaining this one specific body type that is supposedly the epitome of what is deemed sexy is both unfair and boring.
“As long as we live in a culture that tells women that being admired and desired for the way we look is merely the normal condition of womanhood, something fundamental to our sex, it will be considered acceptable to evaluate women for their decorative value. As long as it’s considered acceptable to pass public judgment on women’s bodies, often negatively — to snark on and condemn and make fun of things that are truly beyond an individual’s control — in public, then it’s open season on all of our bodies. As long as women are in competition with one another to have the ‘best’ body, we all lose. As long as there persists a single, narrow beauty ideal we are all instructed to live up to, none of us will live up to it. This game is rigged. There will always be some critic who can tell us where we are found lacking.”
– Jenna Sauers