Friday, December 11, 2009

Currency

"More than 70 percent of normal-weight women over thirty are dissatisfied with their weight. In a large nationwide poll conducted in 1997, an astonishing 39 percent of normal-weight women said they would willingly die three years early if it meant they could reach their desired weight now. Fifteen percent would have traded as much as five years of life for a thinner body. On average, these women stood five feet five inches tall and weight 140 pounds, so they would have cut their lives short to lose just fifteen pounds. Whether or not they had diagnosable eating disorders, these women's level of desperation and self-loathing indicate a serious problem not just individually but societally. A large part of this problem is the double standard that our society applies to beauty and aging.

"While almost every culture treats beauty as a woman's default currency, the tragedy of the Western world is that beauty has been reduced to two narrow standards, youthfulness and thinness, which implicitly exclude women as they age. So while men become distinguished, handsome, elegant, silver haired, and stately--especially if they are wealthy--even the richest, most elegant women are said to 'lose their looks' as soon as their hair starts to gray. Crow's feet, laugh lines, spreading midriffs, and age spots are unisex phenomena, but these phrases are used almost exclusively and negatively by and about women. That's because only women experiences these signals of age as a threat to their social, sexual and professional status. As an actress friend in her early forties said to me, 'I walk down the street and men look past me as if I'm invisible.'"

-from Gaining, by Aimee Liu

2 comments:

Carley Brown said...

I think the saddest thing about this post is that

It'll never change

Anonymous said...

the sad thing is that you believe that it will never change.....