Fate is Chance. Destiny is Choice.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Body and Image - Woman's Survey

This survey is from Newt in a Teacup:

"Inspired by a comment or two in a previous post I’ve decided that it would be a great idea to compare our experiences in an honest, straightforward way. I’m not quite sure what the best way to start a discussion is so I’ve set up a few survey-style questions.

One thing I’ve noticed, especially from personal experience, is that it’s very hard to talk to someone else, a friend or family member for instance, who does have really bad body image/ health issues to do with body image. And it’s pretty clear that all of us will most probably meet at least someone with those issues; we can’t avoid it.

So let’s start talking to each other at least.

Copy and paste the questionnaire to your own blog, fill out what you want to fill out, and link it back here in the comments. If you don’t have a blog just do it straight into a comment.

Please do not refer to just yourself but to your friends and family as well - i.e. the environment you live in, or anything else you want to share. Add or remove questions if you want!

Remember this is a loose questionnaire, intended to start an honest discussion not solve the worlds problems."

Name: Liz

Age: 22

Height: 5'3

Weight: Not exactly sure, but last time I checked I think it was about 15 stone.

Do you consider yourself attractive? Yes - most of the time. I've come to terms with my own body, but at times old insecurities return.

Do others consider you attractive? Yes - my manfriend does at least! Also, my Mum and Sis sometimes give me confidence boosting compliments.

What is your biggest insecurity and why? The hair on my chin. Also, my upper arms and my excess weight do make me insecure at times but I always tell myself that it doesn't matter what other people think.

Have you/Would you consider using plastic surgery? Why or why not? No. I would consider it if I had to have reconstructive surgery, but that's it. Its expensive and major surgery and can go wrong. I think it's very difficult for women not to be seduced by the claims the industry makes, especially when the beauty/porn/plastic surgery industry preys on women's insecurities.

What is your relationship with make-up? I wear it quite a lot because I like experimenting with colours and different looks. I don't think it makes me look 'better' but I use it as a creative tool, part of my outfit etc. I don't wear it on 'off days' when I'm just lounging around or going down to the corner shop etc.

How much money do you/think is reasonable to spend on your appearance? Well..I do tend to overdo it with shopping. I don't buy as much as I used to but I do ocassionally go on shopping sprees when I have money to spare - I would guess around £50-£70 on these occasions.

What is your experience of dieting? My experiences have been frustrating. I have PCOS so I do actually need to lose weight for my health (no other reason as I'm happy with the way I look). It's 10 times harder for someone with PCOS to lose weight than a normal overweight person so it has been difficult, as I have a very slow metabolism. The doc has said exercise is the key and it isn't dependent on a 'diet' as such, just exercise.

Have you/ anyone you know tried any specific diet programs i.e. Lighter Life? How did that affect your health? your moods? your relationships? Yes, I tried The South Beach Diet. It was short lived, horrible and did work but then I put it all back on. It is a crash diet and the food is AWFUL (days and days of eating bacon and tomato for breakfast? Yuk. and tomato juice, which I HATE). I got quite moody because I was basically starving my body of stuff that it needed.

Do you have any experiences of eating disorders i.e. either yourself or someone you know? Not personally but I do know that some people my family know have had eating disorders.

How did other people react to this; what was the fallout? N/A.

Have you had negative experiences relating to your appearance and people’s reactions to it? Yes. When I was younger I got some cruel comments about my weight even though I didn't weight much more than a healthy child. I think people always look for a scapegoat to deflect away from their own problems. Some of my insecurities do pop up every now and again but I have a more balanced attitude towards my body. I loathe people that think being fat or overweight is the worst thing in the world because I think everyone has something beautiful about them. It just doesn't measure up to society's fascist standards.

What about positive reactions to your body? People comment on my style more than my body - I get positive comments about my clothes etc. I'd rather have those comments than people saying stuff about my body as it is MY body - it doesn't belong to the public.

How has your body image and attitude changed over the years? I used to be quite hard on myself - very critical about the way I look and critical about other women's bodies. But now I have learnt to love my body because there are many things I like about it, and the fact that it is mine, the only one I have. I've stopped feeling critical about other people's bodies, and I admit it is because I've grown up and have stopped listening to the media and dictates about what is 'supposed' to be attractive.

What do you love about your body? My face, particularly my green eyes. My skin. I also like my curves, my hands and my feet (because they carry me everywhere).

What is your opinion on the media portrayal of women’s bodies? It's horrendous, fascist and distorted. It's not real, its a distortion of reality. It has no room for the reality of women's bodies.

What would you change about the way you/ your friends/ your family/ general people see their bodies? That we are all seen as individuals, first. That the body isn't the most important thing about women. That looks come after all the other things in life, especially for women, who always appear to be judged first by their looks and everything else second. And also that we should accept other people's bodies and not be critical.

What makes you feel beautiful? Wearing the colour purple or teal/sea green. Being with people I love makes me feel beautiful. I think having love is something that should make people feel at peace with themselves, and also learning to love ourselves.

and just for fun… Do you shave legs/pits/upper lip
moustache? Well, I 'trim' my chin hair and upper lip moustache. I ocassionally shave my legs and pits (normally only if I'm wearing sleeveless tops or have a night out) - because when I wear skirts I feel self conscious if I haven't shaved my legs - and agree that I shouldn't feel that way. I don't shave anywhere else, and wouldn't want to.

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