Conforming to conventional body image standards has become one pervasive form of oppression in this country. Similar to “doing gender,” the issue of weight has become an inescapable object of obsession in today’s society. Our pop culture delights in ridiculing celebrities that have gained weight. Nowadays, women are inundated with weight loss gimmicks and the dangerous side effects of these diet products are often minimalized. Still, it is more important for a woman to look skinny than for her to be healthy.
Furthermore, an individual’s sense of self-worth is now tied in how confident that person feels in clothes. Spanx and corsets are becoming increasingly popular ways to cover up one’s “physical failures”. The relationship between body image and societal oppression is quite a provocative one. Bordo states: “Images of the physical body may symbolically reproduce central vulnerabilities and anxieties…of the social body” (186). Fundamentally, addiction to dieting and weight/body control masks oppression. This obsession with weight and physical regulation of food intake has generated unnecessary issues with stress, eating disorders, body dysmorphic conditions, and low self esteem. Perhaps the oppression of weight control will lessen when women are seen primarily as citizens rather than consumersfor these unwarranted products.