How many ways can you skin a woman's confidence? For years, we've lived with ads featuring models too gaunt to menstruate, and more recently, without enough of a waist to actually breathe (thank you, rambo Photoshopping). But now we've got a whole new level of feel-bad messaging.
Have you noticed the growing number of impossibly attractive stars who say they don't feel (insert a shrug of shoulders here) that hot? No, they see themselves, as plain or dumpy, as in, "I don't think I'm a sexy, beautiful woman. I look like Ted Nugent in a black wig." If Megan Fox can utter those words with a straight face, where on earth does that leave the rest of us?
Maybe this "nah shucks" stuff is some new form of reverse bragging, a media-savvy version of, "don't hate me because I'm beautiful." Or maybe these stars honestly feel they're not up to snuff. Whatever way you spin it, this is not a healthy trend for any of us.
Erin Matson puts it a little more bluntly than I have. "I believe Photoshop is being used as a weapon of mass destruction," says the 30-year-old action vice president of the National Organization for Women, which is hosting Love Your Body Day on October 20th (check it out). Matson says there's nothing woo-woo about it. As women, she believes, it is essential to fight back against the rampant down-putting of our bodies. We must do this in the name of equality, she says, and in some sense, to save our lives.
Her passion is catchy because she speaks from the heart, having almost died of anorexia. After three hospitalizations that ended in her getting kicked out of treatment ("they told me I was continuing to lose weight, and I couldn't commit suicide under their watch"), what saved her was feminism. "I came to the conclusion that my eating disorder was a response to a culture that consistently undervalues women and suggests that we take up less space," she says.
If Matson's story is extreme, the same pressures affect us all, whether we feel too small or too large, inadequately flat-chested or unhappily hippy. "If you feel crummy about your body, don't be ashamed," she urges. "You are not the problem. Society is. Just remember, however much space you take up, you deserve to take up."
When I ask Matson how we can start to fix this, she suggests what she calls a radical act. And that might be...? "Decide," she says (and this is genius), "to love yourself as you are."
Here are some celebs who should take that advice:
What do you think? When hot celebs complain, does it make it harder for all of us?
Here are a few more ideas to show your body some love:
3 Ways to Love Your Body in Under an Hour
5 Ways to Heart Your Derriere
4 Other Body Parts-and how to love them
Dear Belly, It's Time To Stop All This Hating Business
[photo credit: Getty Images]