With it being NEDAwareness Week, I thought this post was timely.
I am the first to admit, I love Pinterest. Having one place to easily access recipes, fashion and other inspiring ideas is great. I have made recipes from things I pinned and we even made part of our edible Christmas presents from something we found on Pinterest. I have been able to help share ideas for my best friend’s wedding from California while she is in Colorado through a shared board.
Since much of my life revolves around food and fitness, my go-to categories for inspiration should be Food & Drink and Fitness. I have found amazing ideas from the Food & Drink category but I continuously find myself disappointed when I head over to the Fitness category.
What I want from Fitness inspiration is workout ideas and training plans. What I find I often get are Photoshopped images of models in bikinis with descriptions like, “Thinspiration”, or “I Will Look Like This”. It makes me want to reach through my computer screen and shake the woman or girl on the other end and tell her that those pictures aren’t real. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier and the best you you can be – but looking at doctored up photos of other women will not make you healthier or more fit.
Women are already exposed to as many as 3,000 ads a day and we view ourselves and each other harsher because we can’t help but judge based on these Photoshopped images. 91% of cosmetic surgery patients are female. There is such emphasis in our society on physical appearance and perceived sexiness rather than who we are and what our bodies can do. I can run marathons and do push ups, I give back to my community and enjoy spending time eating and laughing with family and friends. Do you think those rail-thin models can do any of those things? I don’t.
I know that Pinterest is not the problem here and that the problem will not go away if people stop pinning “thinspiration”. But do we really need the added and concentrated exposure to these messages that we are only worthy if we have the impossibly perfect body?
I still love Pinterest and this is not an anti-Pinterest post. Pinterest is user-generated content and is what we make it. I am able to skim over those images and recognize how unrealistic they are. But women with body image issues and young girls might not be able to.
I know I am on my soap box here, and I usually steer clear of that to not stir the pot. But since we are 5 weeks into the Girls on the Run season, I feel extra protective of those little girls and all the other little girls out there who are trying to develop self esteem and self worth even though we have stacked the odds so high against them.
If we wouldn’t tell a young girl to use a photo of a model as inspiration, why are we telling it to ourselves?
NOTE: I intentionally did not post images of the “thinspiration” photos I mentioned as I do not want to further glamorize them or put anyone in a trigger situation.