Monday, July 23, 2012

Altered States of Reality

Every morning I check out the blogosphere to check up on the news, and lately there seems to be a common thread linking up several posts: reality. Namely, our battle against and for it, and the things we don't need in it. Let's start with the a common altered reality to tackle -  the modeling industry.

Leeanna, over at Can we have a new witch? Ours melted, brings up the long-contested issue of the images of women we see in everyday fashion - particularly in runway shows. The average runway model is expected to be size 0 to size 4 (a size 6 or above is considered plus size). Like most sane people, I consider this to be fairly insane. Last I checked, I didn't walk into the mall to see a large group of 110 pounders walking around (unless we're talking about preteens). What exactly is the average size of an American woman? According to WebMD "the average American woman is 5’4″, has a waist size of 34-35 inches and weighs between 140-150 lbs, with a dress size of 12-14." Considering that these numbers are quite a bit higher than they were fifty years ago, you would think that the fashion industry would adjust their model choices appropriately in order to fit their target audience.

Alas, modeling and advertising isn't about showing us the reality we already have, but rather a reality that we must spend the rest of our lives attempting to achieve. I'm pretty sure it's easier to get into Mormon Heaven. If the average model represented the average human being, then a good chunk of us would be undergoing leg-lengthening procedures, starving ourselves, and ultimately dying before the age of forty. Then again, if we really want those model bodies, I suppose we could just follow Wikihow's seven steps on how to get one. Is that all it takes? Not according to an article from Lovepanky.com, which says that in order to get to a size 0, an average woman taking in 1200 calories per day would have to decrease that amount to 400 calories per day - an amount that officially falls into the category of starvation. Good thing Wikihow's instructions have convenient links to anorexia treatments right under step one.

So if we can't starve ourselves down that way, maybe we can just get close by eating healthy.  Unfortunatley, this brings us to another altered reality - the food industry.

The NY Times has an interactive version of this here.
Shopping at farmers markets has made eating real food a much higher priority for me lately (although will admit to having a secret shameful love for Slim Jims.). This involves paying much closer attention to the labels on the products I buy. If you've ever tried to do this, or if you already live this way, I truly applaud you. Finding real food is much more difficult than you might think. It's really shocking how much can be replaced by corn and soybean products - two crops that have become so central to processed food that they've taken over the industry. With over 70% of our processed foods containing corn or soybean ingredients, farms have turned to every kind of chemical and genetic engineering to get the highest crop yields possible. Even small farms are jumping into the business. Jane, at Hard Work Homestead, pointed out that her family passed several Amish farms showing Roundup Ready crops growing in their fields - a genetically engineered product of the food industry giant, Monsanto. The proliferation of corn and soy has had me running for the peripheries of the grocery store and haunting the fresh fruits and vegetables sections. 

The altered reality of beauty: BE SKINNY!, and the altered reality  of the food industry: IF IT DOESN'T KILL YOU IT'S FOOD!, seem to be at odds. We spend so much time and money trying to attain one and combat the other (organic foods are frickin' expensive). So rather than bitch and moan and move on, here are some things we can do to slowly make life better:

1. Save your money and paper. Don't by beauty magazines. Do we really need them? And how many times have you actually read a Cosmo and thought, "I feel so good about myself and my body exactly where they're at right now!" Didn't think so. Besides, we all know they recycle their sex advice anyway. Apparently guys still like nudity after thirty years! Who would've thought!

2. Educate yourself. Learn about the way we get our food by watching the documentary, Food Inc. For those of you with queasy stomachs, there is a bit with chickens getting slaughtered at a small farm, and a bit showing dead cows in a slaughterhouse. Otherwise, this is a very rounded look at the food industry without getting sidetracked by only animal rights issues.
3. Exercise. Like Elle Woods of Legally Blond says, "Exercising produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people don't shoot their husbands." And in addition to not murdering your husband, you'll also be happier that you could totally bench press those skinny models after only one day of weight training. Plus, you'll be less likely to want to be weighed down by processed food (resist the Slim Jims! I know, not hard for most of you. It's so deliciously shameful!).

4. Cook like Little Miss Vegetarian. She has some wonderful looking recipes over at her blog. Most involve fresh, organic ingredients, and would make anyone, vegetarian or not, drool. The Lasagna Al Dainty is on my list of foods to use to impress people at parties.

1 comment:

Leeanna Henderson said...

Thank you for the reference to my blog hon.
I came across this blog over the weekend called the skinny girl blog. There was a big what-to-do about Kate Upton being to fat to walk the runway. This pissed me off because Kate is not THAT fat. I would scream with glee just to have her body. But she fired back at the blogger for the unreal mentality of models and their weight issues. Yea Kate!!!