One Woman with Autism Proves a Point about American Women and Body Image

by GfG on June 10, 2014

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I have discussed the warped view of beauty that America has and I’ve admitted that I am greatly affected by it.  It is a near constant struggle to fight the lies that American culture teaches about what is beautiful, what is expected, and what is normal for a woman’s body.

flat-stomach3

 

(hint: the Bible doesn’t ever teach that a flat stomach is beautiful nor normal)

Well, last week at camp everyone saw what this horrible media provoked and continued distortion of beauty here in America actually does to a mind.

One woman at camp exposed the dialogue.  Literally.

She is on the autism spectrum, so her filter for verbalizing what is on her mind is different.  She doesn’t have much of one at all, actually.  Comes with the territory, so everyone at camp is used to that.

What they weren’t used to was what she was saying about women, about their bodies, and her own.  Her verbiage about body image was shocking, only because she was so stinkin’ honest.

She would walk right up to someone and say one or more of the following, sometimes all of them:

Do  you have to work hard to get that body?

How much do you weigh?

What exercises do you do?

What kinds of foods do you eat? 

How can I look like that?

 

Do you have to do a lot to get a stomach that looks like that?  I have this pooch and I have always had it.  I hate it.

Do you like your body?

What don’t you like about your body?

Do you think I look fat? 

I wish I looked like you.

I don’t like my body. 

the-word-beauty WEB

These scenes broke my heart.

And confirmed an awful truth at the same time.

These are all thoughts that American women have when confronted with other women, which is pretty much all the time.

Sure, we may not think all of those and we may take control of those thoughts differently and more quickly.  We may even avoid some of those questions, especially if we think our figure is better than the woman in front of us.

But if she has a fabulous figure, as defined by American culture (flat stomach and thin arms and legs, in case you aren’t from around here), then we wonder how hard she has to work to get and/or keep that figure, we admire her, and we usually wish we could look like her in some way.

We wonder about how she got her body to look like that.

If she has born children, even more so.

If she is over forty, definitely more so.  And we wonder if she is a CrossFit junkie.

If she is over fifty, we wonder if there are any surgeries involved.  Or if she eats sweets at all.

I wonder how different, if at all, the words floating in the air would be if our thoughts were spoken aloud, unfiltered, when we see other women.  

When we see women with “great” bodies.  When we meet someone whose body more than fits the American standard.

I think of this woman often now.  Her spoken words evidence of a distorted culture that has greatly affected her.

And I hope her running verbal dialogue is used by the LORD to help me see how destructive, counter productive, and wrong my own running inner dialogue truly is.

I need to shut up, already. 

Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” 

I don’t want to focus on the fleeting.  I want to focus on the eternal.

Lord, change my inner dialogue so that it changes my vocal one.

Fight the beauty battle, women!  

Beauty Dialogue WEB

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