Question: What Body Issues Are a Part of Our World in 2009?


Recently, one of my daughters sent this video to me. This pressure is very real.


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We live in a time of great confusion about the body. Think about what we talk about or experience in this culture. We have conversations about:

  • Obesity
  • Anorexia
  • Botox
  • Breast Augmentation
  • Pornography
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Thinness
  • Starving, gorging, and purging ourselves
  • Exercise
  • Body image
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Cosmetics, diets, clothes
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (imagined ugliness)
  • Bulimia
  • Fitness
  • Sexuality

Questions:

What should Christians be saying about the body? What other body issues would you add to this list? What stress do people face today because of the culture’s view of the body?

You might read the paragraph below:

“. . . It is important to discover the emotions and feelings that underlie your negative body image. The statement ‘I feel fat’ is never really about fat, even if you are overweight. Each time a woman looks at herself in the mirror and says ‘Gross, I’m fat and disgusting,’ she is really saying ‘There is something wrong with me or with what I’m feeling.’ When we do not know how to deal with our feelings we turn to our bodies and blame our bodies for our feelings. Every time you say ‘I’m fat’ you are betraying your body, and you are betraying and ignoring your underlying feelings. Remember that ‘fat’ is never a feeling, it’s avoidance of feelings. Learn to discover your emotions and feelings and realize that focusing on your body is only distracting you from what is ‘really’ bothering you.” Nicole Hawkins, Eating Disorder Referral Information Center

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  • http://Twickenham.org Brad Cox

    Wow! what a powerful video. It is a subject that bears talking about. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jane

    My daughters are grown now. My sons are seven. And so I see this issue more from the perspective of a parent of young boys. Not only are our daughters being taught to acheive am impossible image, but our sons are being taught that the impossible image is the norm. They too have societal pressures to be lean, muscular, and fit – and at much too young an age.

    There is this wonderful joke (I believe it’s from Larry the Cable Guy) that also makes a good life lesson. It goes something like this. “Don’t marry a person who’s pretty, stupid, and mean, ’cause the pretty will end. Then all that’s left is mean and stupid. And folks, that ain’t pretty.”

    How much more important is it in today’s society that we look beyond the exterior to the heart? Jesus is the only place we find our real worth and true beauty. This is what we must teach our children. Because in Christ, all things are possible – even achieving an [internal] beauty that is not possible under our own power.

  • Jim Martin

    @Brad Cox
    Brad – It is a powerful video. Very sobering to think about the pressure that so many young (and not so young) women feel.

  • Jim Martin

    @Jane
    Jane – A great comment. Love that quote by Larry the Cable Guy. :)

  • Greg England

    I was so glad when our daughter (now 24) finally grew up beyond this mentality and started thinking and dressing from a perspective of who she is in Christ rather than who Hollywood and Wall Street wanted her to be. That is a good video. I think I saw it, or one very similar, a few years ago that our youth minister used in his classes with the teens.

  • http://newheights.wordpress.com Darin

    Thanks for this. It is definitely something to discuss with my daughters. Thanks again.

  • http://www.life-mission.org/blog Adam

    Ironically, I think it’s because we don’t see our bodies as being us that we are vulnerable to an objectification of the body. Our body isn’t something we have, it is part of who we are. Acceptance of our bodies is acceptance of ourselves. I have found Joel Green’s “Body, Soul, and Human Life” helpful in this regard. I’ve also recently blogged about it.

  • Jim Martin

    @Greg England
    It is a sobering video. Thanks Greg.

  • Jim Martin

    @Darin
    Thanks Darin. Good to hear from you.

  • Jim Martin

    @Adam
    Adam– Very, very good point. Thanks for the reference to the book by Green. I will make note of this. Thanks.