Stereotypes about Women's Figures from Tamarahco Hen Productions on Vimeo.

According to a recent study, since the arrival of TV in 1995, the island nation of Fiji has been struck by an outbreak of eating disorders. The presenter argues that the study has implications for Japanese girls and women.

Key words-Phrases: Fiji, beauty standards, secondary sexual characteristics, dieting, eating disorders, exercise, female physical pleasure.

One Doshisha Women's College student's response:

"Break Stereotypes!"

What ideal do you have regarding your body shape? According to the video, Japanese adolescent girls tend to obsess over their body shape and they hope to become slimmer because they are influenced by media such as TV actresses and magazine models. How about boys? Boys seem not as obsessed with their figures as girls.

In high school, my male friend said to me “You should slim down.” What he said hurt me even as a joke. I knew I was on the chubby side. But I practiced soft tennis hard and exercised so much every day. What else did he suggest I do? I felt frustrated because I thought I was of standard proportion. I decided to start dieting. I depended on a diet medicine and also skipped meals. I had no other choice because I wanted to slim down as soon as possible. I knew these practices were unhealthy, but I really wanted to revenge him. After a month, I lost eight kg. At first, I was really happy but gradually I felt anger because I felt the urge to eat. And the most shocking thing was that no friends recognized that I had lost my weight. As a result, I could not control myself to eat and gain back the weight. I recognized then that dieting which is an unhealthy way to lose weight and it does not make me happy. Since then, I have always valued my characteristics. In my case, I had been called “Ayupanman” not “Anpanman” which is an animated character and a little bit chubby because I had kept chubby during high school. I was glad to be called so because I was the only person with this nickname. At that time, I felt strong individuality.

In conclusion, girls need to think about their individuality before anything else and have confidence in themselves. Now I do not have an ideal body shape. I just live healthy. Nowadays many boys and men seem to be strongly influenced by TV and think women have to be slim. It makes no sense. I mean, boys and men do not have the right to dictate girls’ body type. I want to speak up to all women. “Do not pay boys any mind.” Let’s break stereotypes and find our own individuality.

Takeuchi Ayumi, 2011
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