I made a promise to myself in January that I would work on living with less rather than more - and what I chose to keep in my life would be things that inspire and move me rather than pull me down and depress me. One of these choices was that any media I choose to watch, read or listen to should support the goals of being my authentic self. It didn't start off as a resolution, but a gradual shift in my thinking that certain types of media really drive the narcissistic "I'm a star (regardless of moral fibre)" type persona as being that of being desirable or the D Grade social commentary of "I'm making an important announcement now about how I'm going to wipe my bum with organic toilet paper because I'm a star and my butt deserves nothing but the best"... a bit extreme, but you know the drill. These are concepts that I want to avoid.
I was waiting for the kids today, so I popped into the local newsagency and picked up a fitness rag. In it were some bodybuilding types with nice low body fat and bulging muscles, aided no doubt by a visit or two to the local vet or pharmacy (depending whether they were in Mexico or north of the border) , further perpetuating the myth that "Cinderella Narrative" ** of " if your body if perfect, then life will be happy".
I flip to the Publisher's letter which states "we're so proud of you, our readers.... Don't ever feel like a failure, just push through and re-affirm your goals. Now is the time. " nothing too dreadful or offensive about that but since when is keeping fit and feeling good associated with failure?
He goes on to say, "you may not look like the ladies in our workouts, but you are part of a movement among women who are not afraid to go for it!". I was gobsmacked when I read this - blatant admission that what his publication is peddling is a crock of shit, totally unrealistic and an insult to any fit minded woman who has been blessed with a brain cell or two.
I flip further to a page devoted to "Happy Hormones", which states that " you shouldn't have to starve yourself or be jacked up on stimulants, high caffeine products or thermogenics in order to get the body you want" - yet sandwiched next to this blurb is an ad for a supplement store, and just five pages ahead an article for a fat loss supplement. Resisting the urge to vomit, I instead thought "dumb ......." and moved on.....
Needless to say I was thrilled to sit down with the good old Courier today and see an article from one of my favourite columnists, Karen Brooks.** The article pertains to the rise and rise of plastic surgery procedures that are commonly performed these days for no good reason. There are of course situations where plastic surgery can be helpful (and as many know, I have had some surgery myself) but the best part of the article relates to the whole myth of "transformation". The long term success stories are the ones who transformed into (as Karen says) " working on being themselves".
After my foray into the fitness magazines, I watched "The Biggest Loser". Yes, another source of media portraying the need for transformation in the reality TV setting. I've never seen this show and there were parts of it that made my stomach turn. But in this, a breath of fresh air named Hayley Lewis, who was outstanding in her support and gentle encouragement for the contestants. What would keep me watching it would be seeing the genuine empathy she has for those who are struggling with their weight and the behaviours that got them to that point, where they felt their choices become so limited. I sincerely hope that through the journey, the contestants slowly but surely learn the tools they need to learn to honour themselves and truly live lean and love life.