NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, Body Image Rehab.
In my last post, I wrote about a few of my personal “body image role models,” women who embody healthy body attitudes and are helping me to cultivate similar perspectives. Now it’s time to consider the celebrities…
We often hear about the negative effects of the media and the damage created by trying to live up to celebrities in terms of beauty and thinness. While it’s true that many stars are not good role models for young (and older) women, there are some who buck that trend. I have written about a few of them in previous posts and will continue to share stories of women in the limelight who possess refreshingly positive attitudes related to the topics addressed in this blog.
Positive, Uplifting Celebrity Quotes
I also keep a file of positive quotes from famous women on the topics of body image and self-esteem. Today’s post shares a few of these quotes from celebrity body image role models, as well as my commentary on what they have to say. The women quoted represent various professions – an athlete, a model, a singer, and a reality TV star – but they all have powerful insights to share with those of us who are working to rehabilitate a negative body image. It is my hope that you will gain a few tidbits of wisdom or “aha moments” from reading the quotes below.
Beautiful Inside and Out!
“What I’d like to teach my daughter about self-image and self-esteem is that you’re beautiful on the inside and the outside, and not to get obsessed with pictures that are out there in magazines of skinny models. I had an eating disorder in college and wanted to look like those models and be thin. So I’ll probably share that experience with her and let her know that you’re beautiful just the way you are.” – Dara Torres, Olympic swimmer and mother to a 4 year-old daughter
I have been a fan of Dara Torres for years, both for her athletic prowess and her tenacity to keep pushing herself to succeed at an age when most people in her sport have hung up their goggles. Now I can add another item to my list of reasons for admiring this remarkable woman. She is striving to cultivate a healthy body image and self-esteem in her young daughter and hopes to spare her from the pain that she herself endured while growing up.
Parents really can have a positive impact on their daughters and help mitigate some of the damage caused by the unrealistic standards perpetuated by the media and entertainment industries. Dara is sending a positive message to her daughter that we should cultivate both inner and outer beauty – and above all, self-acceptance!
A Healthy Perspective on Aging
“The ultimate beauty secret for a woman getting older is, don’t be too thin! It’s always better to have a little meat on your bones. When you are just muscle, you end up being gaunt in the face, and that makes you look older by 5 or 10 years.”
“I don’t have anxiety about [getting older], so I’m not running to get Botox. Maybe that will change, but I don’t think so. I feel comfortable in my skin and comfortable with aging, so I think it’s okay that I get wrinkles.” – Heidi Klum, supermodel and creator/host of “Project Runway”
Heidi Klum has always looked both beautiful and healthy. While she is still quite slim and has nary an ounce of fat on her, she isn’t as thin as she was in her modeling heyday. There is no question, however, that she looks young and vibrant. Her attitude toward aging is a healthy one. It may help that her heritage is German instead of American. I’ve found that European women don’t tend to be as obsessed with being wrinkle-free as American women are. Perhaps that’s because older people are celebrated and respected in other cultures more than in our culture.
Whatever the reason for Ms. Klum’s attitude on growing older gracefully, it’s a welcomed and refreshing message! I join her in eschewing Botox and other such anti-aging treatments. I do my best to take care of my skin, but I’m a 44 year-old woman and it’s okay for me to have some wrinkles! I don’t need to look like I’m 20; I just want to look like the best possible version of myself.
Accentuating the Positive
“I am not a sample size, and I am okay with that. I’m good with who I am. I like to accentuate the positive. My waist is something I love to show off. I’m also happy that more and more women are embracing who they are, because everybody’s different. You don’t have to be a size 0 to be pretty. You just have to be comfortable with who you are.” – Jordin Sparks, American Idol winner
I think that all women should strive to identify and accentuate the positive aspects of their bodies instead of lamenting the aspects that they feel are flawed. We all have positive attributes that can be highlighted and celebrated, regardless of our size.
Most women are unable to achieve a model-thin figure without excessive diet, exercise, and obsession, but we all can look our best and show off our best traits. For me, it’s my arms and shoulders. I am blessed with toned and slender arms and broad, square shoulders. I do my best to highlight those features through the way I dress. I am also grateful for my height and long limbs. I am much happier when I reflect upon my positive attributes than when I curse my hips and thighs. It’s all about where we place our focus!
Embracing Your Curves
“All my friends were super-skinny. I watched my mom and she helped me with my outlook. I have curves and that’s never going to change, so I’d better start embracing them.” – Kim Kardashian, reality TV star and entrepreneur (on growing up in Hollywood)
Kim Kardashian is echoing the positive message expressed by Jordin Sparks above. Ms. Kardashian not only embraces her curves, she is known for them and has become a very wealthy woman as a result of being the “poster child” for curves in Hollywood.
I, for one, am happy to see women with curvier bodies becoming famous and being regarded as sexy and beautiful in our society. Had Kim Kardashian hidden her curves or dieted down to a standard Hollywood body type, I doubt she would be as successful and famous as she is today. She also embodies confidence and self-acceptance, which are as sexy as her curves, in my opinion. Kudos to Kris Jenner, Kim’s mom, for teaching Kim to be proud of who she is and to love herself and her curves.