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Dancing away the pounds - impossible standards of beauty

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Well, I screwed up, in trying to re-post this I deleted this by mistake, so now I have to rewrite it. Sorry for the confusion, I know it won't be as good the second time around. I guess I learned a good lesson about backup up everything I write, too.

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With Dancing With the Stars starting this week, I know that it will be the beginning of a media frenzy about the weight of the the contestants and the pros. It often seems like the show becomes more about the size of the womens' waists more than their considerable accomplishments. Some of the contestants seem to view the show as a version of The Biggest Loser more than a dance contest. And what really makes me crazy is all of the articles about what the pros eat. They all (or at least the ones who let themselves be quoted in the magazines) seem to eat extremely restricted 1200-1400 calorie a day diets. If these professional athletes who exercise 5-8 hours a day can't eat like normal human beings, then what does that say for the average woman? What has happened to our standard of beauty in this country that these woman have to practically starve themselves to meet some arbitrary standard of beauty that their industry and our beauty standards have set for them?

What has really brought this to my mind is that my niece was visiting this weekend. She's 14 and takes dance 3 days a week. She's in great shape but she will never be a skinny girl, she has beautiful curves and a strong, perfect body. She seems OK with that, but she must have insecurities. Every teenage girl does, and a girl in the dance industry must have double or triple those insecurities, especially one who loves ballet. And I watch these shows and I really fear for her. At least when I watch So You Think You Can Dance many of the women are strong and curvy, their legs are strong and muscular and they don't have little skinny stick arms. I much prefer the aesthetic of that show and that portion of the dance industry to what I see in ballroom and ballet. Do you remember the scandal on DWTS when Cheryl, one of the most talented dancers and choreographers on the show, gained 3-5 pounds? And one of the male dancers pointed it out and claimed that she and Lacey-of-the-stunning-legs (I'm straight as can be but that girl has the best pins in the business, I love watching her, who in their right mind doesn't?) were too fat? It was crazy, it was all over the news shows, the women were humiliated, and for what? When did being a size 2 become the goal? It's impossible and unhealthy, mentally and physically, for women to aspire to this arbitrary standard of beauty. Yes, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to keep your body at a weight that supports overall health and wellness. And no, there is no magic formula, so please stop buying magazines with articles about what famous people are eating. It's always the same thing. Eat less, exercise more, eat a well balanced diet, it's always the exact same information. But most of all, please stop holding yourself and other women up to this impossible standard of beauty. The pressure is too much for anyone at any age, much less little girls who are watching everything that we do and say.

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