67: 5 Shows/Movies That Helped Me Change My Relationship with My Body Image

body image mental health Apr 21, 2021

Well hey! I am back for a second part all about body image! 

Yesterday I wrote 11 Tips for Improving Your Body Image. 

Go read that first and then come back here!


From that list:


#5: Go on social media and find kickass women who look similar to you. Maybe the same body type or the same height or the same giant feet or the same hair or the same nose or whatever. Follow them and see how awesome they are even with these perceived flaws.


It's really helpful to see images of women who are NOT 24 years old, white, 110lbs, 5'11", giant boobs, perfect waist, perfect butt, etc.

That's the "right" body, right? That's what we are told we are supposed to look like, ugh.


It's really helpful to see that the majority of women in the world do not look what we see in magazines and in movies.


If you're following the right accounts, I think social media can actually provide a breath of fresh air. It can open your mind. 


Follow women who look like you.

Follow women who change your perception of what's acceptable. 

Follow women who give you permission to fucking exist.



Ok, so I want to dive in a bit and learn more about what's going on with body image.

There are several movies and TV shows that changed my relationship and understanding with my body image.


Let's jump in:


1. Take My Nose...Please!

This movie follows 2 female comedians who want to change their nose and ultimately do get plastic surgery.

What I really liked about this movie was how they went over the history of how magazines have targeted women from the beginning! Even in the 1920s! Yikes!

Think about it! Magazines are image heavy, right?

So you get a little booklet that shows tons images of the "right body" for women to look at, aspire to be, and buy whatever product they're selling to help you change your appearance. 

Checkout this short video from the film.

My main takeaway: I only think there is something wrong with the way my body looks because I have seen tons of images of the "right body" and compared my body to that. But the majority of women don't even look that! Everyone's aspiring to be this thing that doesn't even naturally exist.

And also, it's okay to want to change. It's okay to change something, but don't fall into the rabbit hole of fixing everything wrong with you because you'll never stop.


 2. Dietland

Dietland is a dark comedy / murder mystery / feminism TV show. There's a lot going on! The star of the show is Plum Kettle who works at a fashion magazine and has to deal with a lot of shit when it comes to unrealistic beauty expectations. Plum answers letters that readers have written, and seriously, just the whole thing- you realize what shit women are put through.

What I loved about it was being able to be in Plum's head and hear her thoughts as she navigates her day. Oh, especially when Plum goes to her Weight Watchers meetings and the leader is super condescending about food, and then there is a gal who comes in and is kickass and confident and just herself. You gotta watch it.


My main takeaway: Women are playing this competitive beauty game where someone won't win, but we don't have to keep playing it.



 3. Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie

Ahh!! This movie was sooo good. Barbie has done everything! She's a a dentist, a doctor, a teacher, a singer, an astronaut, a beauty queen, an artist, a baker... on and on!

But still, she's always this one body type that none of can actually have.

This movie explores feminism and how girls see themselves.... and how women see themselves because of their experiences as a child. And it shows the creation of a Barbie who looks different than the "right" body type.

Curvy Barbie!

Barbie in a wheelchair!

Barbies with different hair textures, skin tones, height, etc.


My main takeaway: How amazing if we all grew up knowing our bodies were okay and acceptable just as is.



4. Shrill

Shrill features my favorite SNL cast member: Aidy Bryant!

Shrill is about a writer who is in a new relationship and working to feel comfortable in her own skin. Her boss sucks. Her roommate is awesome. She writes an article called "Hello, I'm Fat" that goes viral, and she has to deal with a troll after this fame.


My main takeaway: Aidy Bryant is successful and happy and doesn't look like the "right" body- why do we allllll spend so much of our lives unhappy and trying to make ourselves look different?


5. This American Life:

Episode 545: If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS

and Episode 589: Tell Me I'm Fat

So Shrill was based on a book by Lindy West. This is actually a podcast about Lindy West! Lindy wrote a viral article about being fat and then was attacked by trolls. She confronted one of them.

I love all episodes of This American Life because you get to hear stories from people of all walks of life and empathize with what they're going through.


My main takeaway: No one deserves to be treated like shit. No matter what your body looks like. And also- don't treat yourself like shit. You don't deserve it.



Those are 5 shows/movies that have changed my relationship with my body image.

I also just want to say that I do realize all of these shows are about white women, and I recognize that privilege, and I hope that mainstream media continues to expand and there  are more opportunities for women of color to be featured in mainstream media because everyone deserves to be seen and have their story told.






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