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Whose Creating Your Bad Body Critic?

Cari Corbet-Owen

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Heading out you spot the new girl your boyfriend dumped you for. Comparison starts up its nasty old game. “She's got perkier breasts and a smaller rear. "

Suddenly your jeans don't feel as good. You climb on the bus and haul out your magazine. . . so many beautiful women - and within a few minutes, gone is your dandy day and in its place is body dissatisfaction.

You look at your cheeks in your cosmetic mirror, they resemble those of a chipmunk. You disembark, spot yourself in a shop window and think, “Is that elephant me?" Your body dissatisfaction has skyrocketed and a few tiny events and your harsh body critic is back!

You feel that of familiar pit in your stomach - it's the one that's almost always present when your body critic is too. Little do you realize just how subtly you are being manipulated by entire industries designed to help your body dissatisfaction grow. It's a perfect business model.

They create the problem - your insecurity - AND they provide the supposedly perfect solution. Except um. . . have you noticed, it's never really perfect enough to take away the problem completely. That wouldn't do!

There are multiple industries creating and preying on your body dissatisfaction.

Who swells their coffers when you think your thighs have too much cellulite?

How about plastic surgeons to nip, tuck and suck it away?

Who scores when you buy those multiple melt-away cellulite creams and potions?

And it's another ka-ching for the fashion industry when you buy yet another outfit!

Finally, let's not forget all those magazines you buy to read their tips, see their advertised ‘solutions’ and of course have your body dissatisfaction doubled when you compare yourself to those photo-shopped models?

Who stands to make money when you think your hair is mousy and boring? Or when you think your skin is flawed or your body isn't shaped just right, or heaven forbid too fat? Somewhere out there are companies and marketers who have got this figured. . . . There's profit (and lots of it) to be made if they can turn up the volume on your body critic. Ka-ching, ka-ching!

Just watch the advertisments - they're designed to make you question how you match up? Ms. Perfect has: a completely zit-free, wrinkle-free and blemish-free skin. Her teeth are whiter than white as she flashes a sexy confident smile. Her eyes are blue-blue or green-green, surrounded by super-long eyelashes and offset with perfectly applied make-up.

Her hair has volume, sheen, multiple highlights and bounces with health. Her hands are blemish free, soft and end in perfectly manicured nails painted the latest shade. And let's not forget that she's slim, taut, toned, tanned and dons the latest fashion. Blah! Blah! Blah! How are you feeling as you compare how you stack up?

Do you see how the fertile breeding ground for your body critic is being carefully cultivated?

And even the problems we're being sold are fake. Let's take those ever graceful, ever perfect hands you see holding and showing products. You think those are just any hands? You think they're hands like yours and mine? Think again.

If they are the hands of top hand model, Ellen Sirot, they're hands that never see the sun, that wear gloves 24/7, that don't wash dishes, don't untie things and so on. How unrealistic is that? But no, all you see if that your hands with their freckles, chewed cuticles and you're practicallly panting to get your hands on that miracle lotion.

But alas, unless you plan on no longer using your hands in every day pursuits - a standard has been set for you, that'is impossible to attain.

As if it's not enough that magazine covers are graced by models who have never had children, mostly under the age of twenty, who are taller than the average women and often thinner than they should be to be medically healthy.

It's not enough that their pictures are taken in exotic locations, with professional stylists and photographers using tricks of light. But even after all that, their pictures are
tweaked and manipulated until the cultural ideal of perfection dances out at us from a magazine cover.

It becomes what we are encouraged to compare ourselves with and to aspire to becoming. It's also what smashes our self-esteem, grows our body critic and guarantees a fortune in consumer spending.

The place to start isn't with trying to meet flagrantly unrealistic standards - it's to get below the surface of all purposely created body-critic-building stuff and see it for what it is. A confidence-eroding, money-making unnatural machine. It's time to give up on a game you can never win at.

Cari Corbet-Owen, Clinical Psychologist and author of ‘The Joy-Filled Body’ and ‘Mind over Fatter. ’ Visit for free ‘Joy-Filled Body’ tips. For much more detail on negative-body image and self esteem go to:


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