I glanced at the Freshly Pressed section this morning, and felt that I needed to add this post to my blog, because it’s pertinent and made me laugh in that kind of mirthless way:
Honestly I am not surprised, and truly believe there needs to be a change in the mindset and perspective of the human body, for both men AND women. We hear mainly about women and their eating disorders, because let’s face it, we are the most vocal about it and we are the ones most struck by the disorder. But as a woman who grew up with an older brother, and someone that seems to hang out more with the boys than the girls, it’s amazing to hear what men will say about their own bodies. I believe their one saving grace is that instead of the waifish look that women are supposed to attain, men are expected to put be muscular, and that requires eating to feed the muscle they are expected to show off. But, I have known men to go on crazy diets, to push themselves to the extreme, and talk down on themselves and the way they look. Ladies, men are just as insecure about their bodies as we are, don’t let any of them fool you.
I am not really referring to jiu jitsu here because yes, without a doubt there is some serious weight cutting going on, especially women (at least in my opinion, I could be totally wrong). There is also however a realistic view (usually) of what your body can and cannot take, and what weight class you should fight in. I currently fight in medio (about 150 with gi, so like 145)-my goal is to compete in leve (about 140 with gi, so about 135), but I have no dreams or fighting in Pluma (118 with gi, so about 115) and no one has encouraged me to get to that weight, and with good reason. There is the pressure to lose weight, sure, but it is also tempered with the cold hard fact that it doesn’t mean anything if I get onto the mat and can’t do a damn thing because I’m too weak. And I think that’s the point some of these women miss-yes, you may look nice in that dress, but you’re not going to have a good time in that dress if you keep fainting from starvation.
I admit, the idea of so many women who develop eating disorders saddens me, partially because they are destroying their bodies in the process, but it is also the symptom of something deeper that is not being addressed, denying that person of a happier, more fulfilling life. No eating disorder I believe is purely cut and dry “well that’s what society tells me to do and look and they tell me this will make me happy in life.” There are some deep seated issues that need to be resolved, and the eating disorder I feel is a symptom or outward sign of the internal struggle going on within the person.
I wish there was some simple answer, but there is none, only steps that can be taken in the hopes that it will effect someone’s life.
Get these women to eat! (would be step #1, of course)
Integrate a more reasonable body image into magazines and other media-and for Pete Sakes, stop with the damn Photoshopping.
There are a number of others, but what do you think?