Mad Men and Body Image

This article caught my eye the other week and I thought it was particularly appropriate considering how many blogs I have seen recently going mad over the start of the new Mad Men season on TV.

The background to the story is that a female UK government minister praised Christina Hendrick’s figure (an actress from the mad men TV series) saying that we should have more curvy role models.

Yes it would be nice to have more curvy role models. But I don’t think we can lay the entire blame on the fashion industry and media for promoting skinny role models as a reason for why women notoriously suffer from self-esteem issues… If people are anything like me, then I know that looking at magazines is only a small part of what influences your ideas and belief system. I find that it is often a series of events that chip away at you. It can be what people say, how they react and what their beliefs are that indirectly affect you – as a nurse – I frequently used to have patients telling me ‘you’re a big girl, you can come and give me a hand getting me up out of bed’. Now the nurse in me knows that what they are referring to is that I am tall for a girl (5 foot 10) and therefore they equate physical strength with height. But as an individual I have been conditioned to be extra sensitive when people say ‘big’ instead of ‘tall’. Another example is strip clubs – (Without getting into the right/wrong debate about strip clubs) it’s difficult to feel good about yourself if you know your partner finds it enjoyable to go places like that and you know you don’t look physically anything like the dancers. But still you can’t help comparing yourself to somebody else that is not shaped like you!

According to the article “the problems with Hendricks’ figure is no more achievable for the average woman than a catwalk queen’s” I think that point is often lost on some women (including myself), I’ve seen it in quite a few of my friend’s that have become so focused on losing weight that in all honesty when they lose it, they lose too much, chasing some sort of ideal. And then secretly I will think that they looked better when they were curvier…

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