Body Image – Cultural Differences

14 07 2008

I was talking to a friend the other day about the standards of beauty and how they vary across cultures.  This came about because a coworker was talking about weight loss and how she had lost a lot of weight but she still had a bit of a belly, another coworker said to her: “at least you don’t have hips”. Like that was something good, her asset.

This got me thinking, that her comment could be offensive in my culture. We want hips, you have to have hips in order to have a small waist.

The women’s body varies tremendously and what is considered beautiful varies as well. For my culture a women must have hips, butt, boobs… the ideal is the hourglass figure; we call it the guitar body (cuerpo de guitarra). I look at some of the standards here in the US like Pamela Anderson, she has no hips, if you took away the boobs, she has a the body of a teenage boy (of course she is more than that).

I have several friends that growing up were teased for not having ‘junk in the trunk’, one of my friend’s mother would go as far as to say to her she would never get a man because her behind looked like ‘somebody had ironed flat’ (this is common expression too). I have a friend that got butt implants.

Yesterday I turned on Despierta America (Wake Up America), the Spanish version of the Today Show and Good Morning America, they had a segment telling women how to get Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s butts. They talked about exercises not only to make it shapely and firm, but also how to increase it in size. Here in the US I see girls obsessed over the size of their boobs, the boobs must be large the hips must be small, in other places it is the opposite.

I worry about people, specially young girls and women, that try too hard to fit a certain mold of beauty. There is societal pressure to fit that mold, what ever it is, from friends, family members, society, the add industry, TV, magazines. Some go on crazy diets, starvation, anorexia, or if they have the means they opt for plastic surgery. Some girls are receiving a boob job for their 16 birthday.

I think the female body is beautiful, I know the male readers will agree. What some people consider beautiful others don’t. The fashion changes every few years and what was in yesterday won’t be tomorrow. We must love the body we are in, strive to keep it healthy. Don’t worry so much about what others think, and don’t try to be something you are not. If you love your body and yourself, just the way you are, you are going to find a lot of people that will love you the same way.

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2 responses

16 07 2008
johnnypeepers

It is sad that so many impressionable young minds fall prey to the societal/cultural media propagated cess-pool of contrived male expectation. The beauty mags, the movies, and the fashion industry has perverted generations of young female minds. Young girls and women perpetually strive for a look that a real man could care less about. Their vain attempts to emulate the coke-head anexoric starlets are exercises in futility.

Women who desperately yearn to fulfill their media-directed cosmetic and bodily improvement marching orders do so to the sacrifice of what makes them inwardly beautiful and feminine. They will attract what they are seeking. A big butt and a stuffed shirt will attract the most lecherous and un-husbandly of the male species. Sadly, they will find this out far too late.

21 06 2011
jennifermarie

I Completely agree. I just read a story from ABC news about how a six-year-old is worried about being fat. How sad is it that the media influences children at such a young age?

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