When I first got back to the west coast I was having fun hanging out with my mom before she passed. We watched lots of movies on tv, which was a novelty for me since I hadn’t owned one in years. Canadian tv intrigued me. What fascinated me were the Canadian government ads about eating well, and safety advice. Canada actually has a YouTube channel called Healthy Canadians .

I kind of loved it! Most of the media I got growing up came from Cosmo, Vogue and Shape magazines portraying women’s bodies I couldn’t possibly have, nor presume to create. . .though that didn’t always stop me from tryint, at least for a time! Where was Canadian media when I was growing up?

Another Canadian Health Publication has taken on Body Image and the Media, and it says:

“In Canada today, between 80 and 90 per cent of women and girls are unhappy with the way they look. This can lead to serious health problems such as:
  • Unhealthy dieting: Girls are starting to diet younger than ever before, sometimes starting as early as 5 or 6 years old.

  • Taking drugs to lose weight: Some women try to lose weight by smoking, or by taking diet pills and other kinds of drugs to suppress their appetite.

  • Depression and other mental illness: Some women can develop depression and other kinds of mental illness when they do not measure up to the media’s image of beauty.

  • Disordered eating: One out of 10 girls and women develops disordered eating behaviours such as anorexia, or bulimia. These diseases can have serious long-term health consequences on women’s health, leading, in some cases to death.

  • Unnecessary surgery: Any surgery brings about risk. More and more healthy women with normal body shapes are getting cosmetic surgery. This includes breast implants, collagen injections and liposuction ( surgical removal of local fat deposits especially for cosmetic purposes by applying suction through a small tube inserted into the body , or to remove body fat) to name a few.”

Canadians aren’t the only ones concerned about the media’s role in the health of women. The U. S. is too. This article in pubmed talks about the role of social media in health education in Saudia Arabia. (not sure why they didn’t study its effects in the United States.) But the truth is that media of all types does have an influence on us

What’s most interesting to me about this is that the media more and more is US.

 Not the United States, but YOU and ME. We are the ones posting on Facebook, Instagram and twitter. We are the ones posting selfies, and portraits and words. Words that can offer encouragement, or words that can tear down. Words that are hopeful, or words that are fearful.

Interesting, eh?

And then I came across a blogger who had a similar realization as she was caring for her sick mother. What we say matters. Perspective changes things. These are her thoughts:

“It occurred to me that if I could take something as scary and often hopeless as the journey through stage IV ovarian cancer and turn it into a story of humor, love, hope, and strength, why couldn’t that be applied to everything? Specifically, I saw a need for a change in the narrative of health — which at that point, was mostly a story filled with fad diets, weight loss “secrets,” ab exercises, and bikini body transformations. To me, this was not a narrative that would actually motivate or empower anyone to want to get healthy, and even if they did, they were just being set up to feel like they were failing.”

I say ME TOO. That’s my desire; an authentic conversation about health and well being. A conversation about loving the bodies that we are in is so important. We must listen to our bodies.

Because the body always speaks. It always gives us the information that we need. The media, for the most part does not. The media amplifies the noise that wants to tell us what we “should” want . . . what’ we “should” look like . . .  what we “should” feel like. But there are no “shoulds”. There is only you. You residing in your body. Thinking your thoughts, feeling your feelings, sensing and knowing what it is that you know. Your answers are right there telling you exactly what you need for your health. Now it’s just about honing in your listening.

So what are 3 ways to know which media is okay for you to listen to?

  1.  Does it build you up and allow you to see all possibilities for yourself?  The feminine loves to be seen in her individuality. We are all different. Does the piece you are reading or listening to celebrate our differences?

  2.  Does it help you get clear about your own desires? Does the information give you a push off place for you to have some clarity about what you want, or what you don’t want? Sometimes the contrast serves us. It’s in the dark places that we see our own light.

  3.  And lastly does it make you feel good? This one is pretty simple. You know if you feel good when you are reading something or looking at something. And you know when it stirs up fear or dissatisfaction in some way. Why not avoid it? What’s the worst that can happen? You might feel happier and therefore healthier. Simplistic, maybe. Truth, absolutely.

With all of the media bombarding us everyday, today more than ever we have an opportunity to tune into what it is that we want to hear. I say take on that privilege and responsibility. You are what you eat, and what you listen to and what you pay attention to. Choose good stuff!

Michele Brookhaus, RSHom(NA), CCH is a homeopath and passionate about women feeling good in their bodies and in their lives. 
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