For the past few months I have been a follower of the growing phenomena that is Blogilates. The online fitness blog was created by Cassey Ho, who now tours the country giving demos of her POP Pilates classes and has written a best selling book titled Hot Body Year Round. But earlier this week Cassey Ho took her fitness empowerment to a new level, and that level has shocked her followers.
Cassey has released a short film entitled The “Perfect” Body, which supposedly speaks out against body shaming. The video begins with Cassey returning from a workout, looking confident and strong. She takes pictures of herself in the mirror, and begins to scroll through her Twitter feed. Quickly, the Tweets turn cruel. They insult her ability to be a real trainer and attack her physical appearance in every way. Cassey strips down to her undergarments, and looks at her body in the mirror now through this lens of hate and disgust.
Pause. I am sure as women we have all had this moment. We look in the mirror after a good workout, or when going out for the night and we feel incredible for once. Suddenly you notice something. Maybe your dress makes your hips look a little big or your shorts emphasize your thighs too much. Your confidence comes crumbling down. The self-hate begins.
But instead of some inspirational moment of self-acceptance, and loving yourself for who you are, Cassey takes another turn –An ugly turn. Cassey begins to virtually change her appearance. She makes her butt and breasts bigger, she widens the gap between her legs and makes her already tiny waist even tinier. So, in some ways this may be inspirational. This incredibly fit woman has the same insecurities that I have. But what made me so incredibly disgusted was the ending. She takes a selfie in the mirror of her new “Perfect” Body, and then she remembers this isn’t what she actually looks like. The film ends with the question “What would you change?”
Well that just hurt. So what now? I have to change something about myself to be accepted? Maybe I am missing the point, that everyone has insecurities. But the mixed messages in the video are hurtful to those who look at Cassey as inspiration. If she thinks she needs smaller thighs and a tinier waist, then what would she think of me? She encourages a message of listening to the hurtful things people say around you, and letting this get to you enough that you want to make those changes in yourself.
To make matters even worse, Cassey posted a picture on Instagram of her “Perfect” Body photo shopped, and people still commented. The comments of hate were just painful to read. It proves that you can’t listen to what others say, the haters are going to hate no matter what. The loving, positive comments were even worse. People praised Cassey for her photo shopped body, calling it their “goal” and even praising her for having the “will power” to starve herself and workout to look good. People totally missed the point, because Cassey failed to make it.
So what now? Her video, photos and Twitter discussion about what a “Perfect” Body is plague my social media. I can’t escape it. We need to be teaching girls to love themselves for who they are, and reevaluate our view of a “Perfect” Body. We need to stop posting transformation pictures of average size girls losing 20 pounds to become skeletons, and claiming they are beautiful. They are sick. We have a real problem. We need to change the culture of our country. We need to understand the difference between being healthy and treating our bodies with respect as opposed to hurting ourselves and pushing ourselves for approval. Do what’s right for you, because in the end, you’re approval is the only one that matters.