Over the years through my work as a drama coach, actor and content writer for various companies who’s focus is a healthy body; and through my studies in education, acting, media and sociology, I have learnt a great deal about the human body and western societies preoccupation with body shape and weight, health and body dissatisfaction.
Just now, reading copious amounts of literature this early a.m for a journal article I’m writing, I’ve put a whole bunch of my history on the subject matter listed above together with this statement just read
‘For girls, the ideal is reflective of a slender prepubescent- like body. This is in contrast to the v-shaped masculine physique that is valued by males’.
The research I am doing currently shows that body dissatisfaction is linked to a range of biopsychosocial factors which in turn predicts problematic eating or exercise behaviours (the latter for boys in particular who’s body dissatisfaction disorder plays out in a desire to be more muscular).
The thing I am putting together in my head this moment is that, though indeed there is an epidemic amongst males now to achieve body shapes that are not their individual norm, the desired look they are trying to achieve, leans into an ADULT male body. The ideal body shape for women however (as directed by social influences like media, parents and peers) is that of ‘a prepubescent’ child.
Not only is this in most cases an impossibility for females, but I am curious even to the desire to remain a child in figure when life directs a change in our shape for the very thing we are, in part, designed to do. For example, a change in hip breadth and breast size is about creating space and sustenance for a human life.
Other changes social bodies suggest women make such as the removal of pubic hair, also play into this- again moving away from an adult female body to that of a child. But in my work as a content writer I’ve learnt that public hair is about trapping a female bodies NATURAL smells so as to attract the male and penis specifically to the area where procreation can begin. I don’t understand this desire (and I would like to suggest mainly comes from within the female community and pressures from sociocultural factors/bodies) to remain, in look, a young girl? Do these issues stem from changes in puberty? Or that breadth of hip and breast is misdirected into feeling of weight ie breadth of b.m.i? And for the very reasons males might feel pressured to create greater width in their chest area, to appear strong / masculine in order to attract a female mate, why is our direction / intent to create something of our body shape that, on a biological level, makes us less attractive/ less appealing as a house to grow a child?
In saying all this PLEASE do not think that I haven’t taken into account NATURAL body shape. A male or female who is NATURALLY rectangular / slim is OF COURSE still masculine/ womanly. Or rather, more importantly UNIQUE and therefore exquisite. I am only talking about those male and females that CHANGE their bodies and the questions I have around that.
I would Love some feedback/ thoughts on above both for my paper and for personal interest.