I was struck by a statistic I heard this morning.
As we emerge from Covid, the number of Americans identifying themselves as depressed or anxious has skyrocketed.
It is so understandable to understand why, after the year we have all been through.
At the same time so many of us find ourselves dealing with more anxiety and depression, the pandemic didn't help our waistlines at all.
Covid weight gain is common, and understandable. Especially as depression and anxiety escalate.
Who among us is happy about having to trade our sweat pants for actual jeans?
But for women, this issue brings special peril and danger.
We are targets for "body shaming by design," the idea that if advertisers can make us feel bad enough about our inability to attain the ideal female figure, we will buy their products.
Here is how Renee Engeln describes the cycle in her book Beauty Sick:
"You think about how your body looks, which in turn typically makes you think about the body ideal for women. How could it not, when most of us see hundreds of images of this ideal every day?
Once that ideal is in your mind's eye, it's hard to avoid comparing your own body to it.
And because the beauty ideal is out of reach for almost all women, you're probably going to end up on the losing end of that comparison.
That loss, that sense of your appearance not being where it should be, is what creates body shame."
And body shame is what leads to us to spend over $60 billion on cosmetics every year.
Sixty. Billion. Dollars.
It is such a vicious cycle:
Convince women they must achieve the current feminine body ideal.
Create a body ideal that no woman can reach.
Shame women for not reaching impossible ideal.
Convince shamed women that buying a product, diet plan or program just might actually help them reach the ideal.
This system of imprisonment is so deeply entrenched in our culture and in our DNA that it almost feels impossible to escape.
The battle is real, friends.
Let's keep fighting, shall we?
For ourselves, for our daughters, our sisters, our mothers ...
No more body shame.