Monday, November 29, 2010

Whatever happened to the armpit?

Growing up,
my parents were one of those coo coo banana parents that didn't let their kid do anything without them in sight.
But they did let me watch TV!!
Lots of it.
In fact,
I owe a lot of who I am today to the shows I watched growing up.
To this day,
I thank Ren and Stimpy for showing me the power of a good fart joke,
Catwoman for inspiring me to live up to my natural feminine bad ass-ness,
Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano for maturing my ideas on prepubescent love
and Eerie Indiana for convincing me that life is a bit eerie in Indiana.

TVs great.
I can get all sorts of hoopla for supporting that life sucking box,
but that's another matter all together.
Why I bring up my TV infused childhood is because along with the "Ahhh Real Monsters" and Ribbon Dancers,
came a slew of commercials that also,
help mold me as a person.

Weight loss commercials.

Even though those early morning commercials meant to target mothers,
(cause you know,
you not only have to raise a child now but you have to look good doing it)
my 9 year old self,
was fully aware of almost every weight loss pill,
ab sculpting machine and
blue cross insured liposuction-ist in my area.

Innocence still lingered however.
I was still a child.
My mind at first soared through these commercials with anticipation for my favorite episodes that would soon follow.
But one day I lost that anticipation.

A weight loss commercial showed a young woman explaining the benefits of a certain weight loss pill.
(which rhymes with sy-lopsy-butt).
They showed her "overweight" body grabbing at the rolls on her stomach
then transforming into her new "hot bod".
One of the benefits was,
she had finally lost that "terrible tummy".
She then went on to explain that she thought it was disgusting that she was able to grab her fat.
In that moment,
I remember looking down at my stomach,
grabbing at my skin and thinking "I can do that ."

It was the first realization,
or should I say manipulation,
of the idea that I was "fat".
From then on I began analysing and obsessing over everything I was being told not to like.
I began my quest for "perfection".

I created Check lists,
categorizing what needed to be "fixed".

I used those commercials, and fashion magazines as my references.

I learned how to hate love handles,
thick thighs,
even arm pit fat.
the crease between my arm and my chest bothered me so much,
it made its way onto my checklist.

Of course,
teen magazines never helped.
In all do respect to the dainty thinner pre- teen,
I just think it might have been a little more fair to represent the other 50% of America.
You know,
the adorably plump pre-teen?
Had that happened maybe I would have found my plumpness more adorable than atrocious.

Fashion spreads,
the "in" body,
Diet fad "healthy" lifestyles,
and Americas obsession with accepting what you don't like about yourself increased my obsession.

I found myself floating between what I felt I needed to look like to be happy
and accepting that what I had was already beautiful.

I can say I'm lucky though.
The fad of editing and airbrushing didn't really exist in the extreme way it exists today.
I remember seeing pores and cellulite on models like Cindy Crawford,
and Kate Moss,
I remember the armpit.
the armpit.
What ever happened to the armpit?
Mine are still there.
Apparently armpits must be airbrushed now too?
Todays commercial need for airbrushing is beyond ridiculous.
They give adults today an unattainable idea of beauty
and God only knows what they're doing to our youth.

Insecurity when you're a growing teen is inevitable.
You're always gonna find something to hate about yourself.
but true.
The trick is,
how, as adults, do you overcome those insecurities and laugh them off?

Via the National Eating Disorder Association:

"In the United states,
It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder
– seven million being women and one million being men.

In adolescents,
Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents,
95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25,
50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight,
80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight "

We have a problem America.
So what do we do?

Now I'm not miss know all ,see all but I will take this moment to voice my little opinion.

Like all issues,
I believe one must be informed.
I can not type this and say everyday is a good day.
But I make the effort to make sure it is.
I make the effort to stay informed.
I make the effort to laugh at commercials that point out the smallest detail on a persons body as "fixable",
I put away the magazines that obsess with ab exercises (I mean how many can there be),
and I allow myself to be aware of the plastic image the commercial world has put out for people.

It is not real.
None of it.
I have to remind myself of this, or I will go crazy.
I will go crazy just like the 8 million Americans who already have.

They are not real.
None of it.

Sometimes I'll even grab my stomach,
smile at what they say are my flaws and say;
"but I am".


  1. posts like this make me happy.
    lets work on a body image zine together, yes?

  2. too bad they do not have commercials about the soul or the mind because that is what controls the physical you.

  3. The problem is as women we care too much what the world thinks about us. It is an obsession!

  4. Aaarrrmmpit you're GONE... GONE... GONE

    ...armpit you're gone!