The body is a temple, a saying in the bible that most know even if they have never read the bible. It is a statement that most have taken into account though and lived by religiously; no pun intended. During interviews, an average, or generalized ideal body could be found within what each candidate had to say about themselves and others. This ideal body was identified to be a “fit” body, but the definitions of fit were somewhat construed. Most people interviewed saw their body as fit, but wanted more change to their body.
Others were content with their bodies; they knew they could change for better, but the change was something that was not important because they were set with the bodies they had. What is most important is the fact that the definition of fit can be interchangeable and for different reasons. One definition was recognized as the disciplined lifestyle of becoming toned and exercised within a gym or some other environment; this body type was more ‘enhanced’ looking and more appealing to the majority of society.
The other definition described a body that could get through a day without being uncomfortable and could handle most physical activity, but this body type was of those that did not go to the gym every day and did not exercise often. What could be concluded was the fact that both parties that represented each definition wanted change to their body regardless of how they looked. Over the last few weeks, observations were made of how people carried their bodies around on a daily basis.
Women wear their makeup, flashy clothes, and seem to put how their bodies look on a pedestal. What this means is that the ideal body type for them is almost unobtainable. Men on the other hand though did not care as much about their outer appearance, but more on what their body shape looked like. One interviewee for example, whose name is William, had a toned body, but still did not see himself as looking good enough. Majority of people would agree in saying that his body type was ideal and that he was good looking enough, but to him, he saw that he needed more change. I like my body, but I do not like it enough, I need more muscle in order to be satisfied in how I look”, these were the words of William; they reflect a self-conscious side to his personality. Since he does not see what others see, he wishes to keep growing through his workouts until he has reached a peak where he can be happy. His wardrobe did not reflect this self-conscious side though; he tries to dress nicely, but does not mind what he wears everyday. In other words, he does not always dress to mpress, but rather wishes to impress with his body shape and physique. Other men interviewed, also agreed that the physique was the most important part to their overall image. Benjamin said, “I have always been a small guy and this has bugged me, I have always wondered if I was good enough for girls because I was not as ripped or as big as other guys out there. ” Benjamin seems to be a confident guy, but this underlying worry did bother him enough to start working out every single day at the Recreational Center.
His fashion consisted of jeans everyday and a sweatshirt; he has gauges in his ears and does not go clean-shaven most times. This observation seems to solidify that men do not care about their outer appearance, but more what is underneath. The Recreational Center seems to be a hot spot for men to be found because they want to tone their bodies over anything else in order to feel desirable. Fashion, makeup, and the outer facade that women put on seems to be the priority of a woman’s conscience, if these components are not pristine, then it seemed as if most women were not satisfied.
The women interviewed unanimously agreed without hearing others’ opinions that fashion was important to their success in feeling comfortable with themselves, but because their bodies would ‘never’ fit the bill. Even if they had a good body type, there was still something that was not good enough about them, but the opposite gender would disagree. This is why fashion for women is key; the makeup they wear and their perfect outfits cover up the blemishes they feel they have underneath the outer-layers. When it comes to girls and how they dress on campus you can see a stereotypical set of fashion appear per season.
When it comes to fall time, Yoga pants are a must. During interviews, most women asked said they wore Yoga pants because they were comfy, but it can be inferred that it also is because it outlines the woman’s body more and women want to show off when they can. Fall fashion also consists of different articles of clothing, but this seems to be the most worn article. Women want to attract men in whatever ways they can, and since the body is the first thing that is judged, the most bodacious of clothing is worn. Such was also seen on Halloween night, scandalous costumes were worn to make seen what types of bodies girls had.
Even if girls were not in shape they still tried to look as ‘naughty’ as possible. This was confusing because it really scuffed the respect that women should receive for their hard work to achieve such fit bodies because they were lowering themselves to such a desperate level to impress the guys around campus. Seeing this behavior strikes up the point that women do feel that their bodies are important, but it seems random amongst women. Some like their bodies, but majority feel they have not achieved the perfect body when in fact they have.
Discipline is seen in the women because of all the effort that is put into their outer appearance, their bodies are important, but compared to men it is not what matters most to them. “I spend almost an hour to two hours sometimes to prepare my makeup and hair before I go to class or go out on the weekends. ” Words from Lex which were surprising to hear because it does not take much time at all for a man to get ready for the day. She also said, “My body is never good enough, I need to lose a lot of weight before I can feel good-looking enough for guys out there. This was also surprising to hear because Lex is a good-looking woman and does not look unfit at all. After hearing what each woman had to say it was obvious that being perfect was something they all strived for, but felt like they could never achieve it. There are too many ‘perfect’ people in the world that they look up to and it demeans their success when they really are perfect in many ways. Idolization is more than likely a major cause for people getting their bodies to look the way they do. Celebrities, models, gym junkies, and more all create an image that for some is impossible to reach.
But one group that does not need these sorts of images is the people of the Nacirema. A bizarre bunch of men and females, but what they lack is what makes them succeed their own sort of perfect or ideal body. The Nacirema go through tortuous processes in order to achieve what they think is the ideal body. This society believes that the body is ugly and its natural tendency is to debility and decay (Horace Miner). Achieving an ideal body all starts with the shrines and charms they use for different parts of their body.
Shrine walls are built within the houses and many charms and potions are kept in these shrines (Horace Miner). There are an abundance of charms and what can be inferred is that keeping these charms helps to reassure that they are still serving their purpose even after they are used up. The practice of using these charms is only a minor step in ridding the body of impurities; a temple where medicine men take members of society is the final step to purification. Bodies are put to the test as grueling activities such as drilling out teeth take place and are filled with random assortments of herbs that supposedly prevent decay.
People that enter the temple may not come out because death is certainly possible. Each person’s body is pushed to the extreme, but it is only to prove that they hold the power to be perfect. Something this extreme is not needed in societies around the world, but for the Nacirema people it is necessity. They supersede other cultures because they do not idolize a certain body type and after the rituals have been performed, they know inside that they are worthy of the body they have and to be a part of the people in their society.
If cultures such as the one seen at Washington State University could appreciate this sort of lifestyle and not hold celebrities and models at such a high status, then the world would see many more confident people with bodies that they would be proud of. It is part of life to try and obtain a body that majority sees as fit, but seeing how everyone interviewed needed something different to happen with their body in order to feel confident, it is almost as if this sort of peace of mind will never occur.
Life today is filled with people battling self-confidence issues. The image of an ideal body is not obtainable because people do not want to see the beauty they behold already. Women wear a mask to cover what they think is ugly, and men hit the gym more than they need to just to achieve a rock hard body that is unnecessary. If more were to hold the values of the Nacirema on a lessened level and boost their self esteem through different acts, then society today could see a much different and possibly brighter mentality that would be shared amongst many.
Fashion is an amazing thing and can be appreciated for its many artsy and beautiful additions to how the body looks, but when it becomes only a tool to cover up the inner beauty of the body because of false self-accusations, it cannot be looked at as something spectacular. The body is a temple, how one adorns it, treats it, and appreciates it, is completely up to the person that lives within the body; but when others influence how one’s temple is treated and decorated, that temple can be considered desecrated. Every persons’ body should be respected and loved for what it is because only the thoughts that one creates are important.
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