I've had a couple of items pop into my frame of reference lately that have forced me to take another critical look at society's perception and view of women... including those from women themselves.
The first was this nonsense program that Tracy Anderson is hocking through celebrity endorsements - specifically Gwyneth Paltrow. To begin with, the suggestion that Gwyneth's fragile-looking build is somehow representative of a healthy body that women should strive for is leading us all back down the path towards the "skinny is beautiful" nonsense. But all of that aside, what's most disturbing about it is how inherently unhealthy (and misinformed) the program is. Essentially, it's living off a diet of 700kcals a day and exercising for 1-3 hours, six days a week. While this is almost a sure-fire way to lose weight, a) it's nothing brilliant or new, b) if you can't fit in 5 hours a WEEK of exercise at this point, why do you think you'll be able to on this program, and c) most importantly, it's a dangerous prescription for an even greater misperception of one's own body image (to read about one women's efforts and results, read the article here).
This was followed by the release of a picture from the freshly cast "Wonder Woman" for the David E. Kelly series. Now, aside from the fact that the very name of the character is sorely out of date, and her brutally designed S&M pleather costume does nothing to add credibility... I can't help but look at the actress and think "she does not look like a woman who's been raised as a warrior. She looks like a skinny (albeit attractive) Hollywood actress."
Which is what prompted this blog. While I'm glad that we've moved away from the aformentioned "scrawny-waif" ideal, I think we can take it a step further. Women should not be afraid of looking (and being) strong - and guys, a lot of it starts with us. Don't let your own low self-esteem stop your sister/girlfriend/wife/mom from being seen as tough and fit.
Let's get rid of all of the "get toned - avoid bulk" crap that's out there, and start embracing an image not just of being the "correct" weight... but instead, one of powerful athleticism.
P.S. One more note to the women's magazines out there - you're not helping the case by using fitness and figure competitors almost exclusively as your models. Let's get more athletes from other sports into your pictorials...