What Is Normal?

***This article was written by Liza Vilenchuk for our collaboration with Cincinnati Hillel. Head to our main site to check out the feature we did on Liza!

What is normal? Today, girls think that the women in magazines are normal. Girls younger and younger are being diagnosed with anorexia, some being as young as 6 years old. I’m currently a student teacher, and I’m seeing this in my first grade classroom. The girls are already more focused on their looks rather than their personalities and brains. Photoshop in magazines is a big contributor to this. Most women know that Photoshop is used in magazines, but we tend to choose to believe otherwise. Body image is such an important topic, that we brought Dr. Rachel Adatto to the University of Cincinnati’s campus to talk about it. 

Dr. Adatto is a politician, lawyer, and the first female gynecologist in Jerusalem. After seeing so many families suffer with eating disorders, she started a movement and made Israel the first country in the world to ban underweight and unhealthy models and create Photoshop laws (Underweight means having a Body Mass Index of lower than 18.5). Bearcats for Israel, Women and Gender and Sexuality Studies department, Hillel International, Women’s Center, and David Project and IEC (Israel Education Center) all partnered together to bring Dr. Adatto to our campus to share her story of how she helped push the Photoshop and underweight model law in Israel. Magazines now have to have a label saying that Photoshop was used in the photos. After Israel made this law, France and other countries around the world have started to follow suit.

I think it is important for people to understand what “normal” is… which doesn’t exist at all. Many girls these days try to tear each other down to make themselves feel better, but I believe our duty as women is to bring each other up and have each other’s backs. We are all unique in so many different ways, but that is the beauty of it all.