May 21, 2009
Chasing after the body beautiful
By Gloria Chandy
The body beautiful. Whatever our age or station in life, most of us admire it and many desire it. We do so in different degrees, no doubt, and not always obsessively.
Still, did you not sneak one last look at yourself in the mirror before leaving for work today? Do you often - while giving yourself the once-over before leaving the house - suck in your tummy, frown in frustration and wish you were a couple of kilos lighter?
We all do that and I think it is perfectly natural. There's a little of the peacock in all of us. And why not? Long after youth is gone and that primeval instinct that has us fussing and preening with the subliminal purpose of attracting a mate has passed, appearance still matters.
After all, first impressions, rightly or not, are based purely on our looks and presentation. We know it helps to be presentable and attractive. A bimbo will, at least initially, get all the attention in a roomful of men before a plain, brilliant woman does.
However, while investing some time and money on our appearance is harmless, it shouldn't exceed the limits of good sense.
Celebrities and fashion models, who set the standard for certain body types and are accepted as the trendsetters by the media, have a tremendous influence on how young people, girls in particular, style themselves.
While eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are not exclusively limited to any age or demography, research has shown that this psychological disorder often begins in puberty - and mostly in girls.
While these problems can be treated and overcome, like drug addiction, the affected ones have to deal with the after-effects, which can sometimes persist throughout their lives.
It is imperative that impressionable youth be warned of the long-term consequences that body image distortion and the development of eating disorders can have on their physical and psychological health.
We should address this issue with the same energy and resources with which we warn our kids about the dangers of drug addiction and irresponsible sex.