Losing love? Must be your appearance…

Posted by on Sep 5, 2011 in aging, appearance | 4 comments

I love it when I run across these. Here’s another great vintage pharmaceutical ad, this time on middle aged skin. What amazes me is that it raises the issue about advertising and pushing the youthful ‘agenda;’ seems that it’s been building for decades. And speaking of body image, an oldie but goodie. What would you give up for perfection?

What would you trade to reach what you considered your ideal body weight and image? How much would you sacrifice?

The question seems absurd doesn’t it? However, researchers from the University of West England, in partnership with The Succeed Foundation, that body image is a major issue for women of all ages.

Although this survey of 320 women mostly comprised university-aged women, the breakdown did skew as high as 65 years. Moreover, the majority were of normal (i.e. BMI 18.5 to 24.9) weight.

Of all the women surveyed, 93% said that they had had negative thoughts about their appearance and nearly a third, several times daily. Approximately 80% said they would like to lose weight, even though about 78% were of normal weight or underweight. What’s more, the women said that on average, they would like to lose about 16 pounds. However, most importantly, 30% of women said that they would trade at least a year of their lives to achieve their ideal body shape and weight.

Other sacrifices to achieve the ideal included:

  • losing over $8,000 from their annual salary
  • giving up time with their partner
  • forgoing a promotion at work.

Numerous studies and reviews have documented the association between age and body image but have mostly focused on adolescents and teens. In recent years, more and more reports are emerging that demonstrate that eating disorders and issues with body issues is not necessarily age-centric.

There’s no doubt that images of young models dressed and made up to look like women  and airbrushed celebrities the permeate the media scape have contributed to if not exacerbated the problem. However, what is it the makes women consistently strive for an unreasonable ideal throughout their lifetimes, so much so that they are willing to sacrifice basic necessities and relationships to achieve this goal?

As women, we’ve come very far. But clearly, many of us clearly continue to give their power away when it comes to self-image, self-esteem, achievement in the workplace and even in our relationships. This study is a wake-up call, not only to our generation but to generations of women who are following in our footsteps.

So tell me, what would you sacrifice to achieve the idea?


  1. 9-5-2011

    It’s probably cultural, but I don’t think that way. I’m not 100% happy with my weight, especially for my height. And there are days I feel less beautiful. But I’m from a culture within a larger culture that celebrates my curves as part of my beauty – even when those curves are as out of control as they are now.

    I definitely have a LOT of anxiety about my appearance, even when, in hindsight, I was the perfect weight/curve for my height. But it doesn’t manifest as something I would trade for years off my life or give up money to change.

    • 9-6-2011

      And that, Tinu, is the ticket. It doesn’t manifest as a trade off but as acceptance. Your message is so important.

  2. 9-6-2011

    I don’t think I would trade my life, or time off it, but I would trade money in a heartbeat. Isn’t that what the dieting industry is built on?

    I think that sometimes I work at the expense of my health and I need to flip that around. Not so much to have the perfect body, but to have a healthy and balanced one.I am willing to give up the prestige and money I could have to have a normal work schedule with time for exercise built in.

    • 9-6-2011

      Kami – I have long made time for exercise – it’s what keeps me sane and allows me to work the crazy stress thrown my way. Time management = healthy balance = win win. When you start structuring your time differently, you’ll have the ideal that you’re looking for; without blowing the big bucks. Thanks for commenting!


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