Jillian Michaels, well known as the take-no-prisoners trainer on television’s “Biggest Loser,” has recently decided to bare all in the July/August 2014 issue of Shape magazine. While the nude photos are tastefully done (the private bits covered discreetly), what really is shocking is that even though Michaels is a world-class trainer with what most women would consider to have a “perfect” body, to Michaels, it still has a flaw.
Women and body image
Most women can only dream of aspiring to a physique like that belonging to Jillian Michaels, and for the most part, she appears to be satisfied (why shouldn’t she be?) with her assets. Yet, at the end of her photo spread, there’s that lingering female doubt or insecurity that shows up, even in the most dazzling of women.
Notes Michaels under the headline “Nobody Is Perfect”: “We all store fat somewhere. Me? I carry all of my weight in my lower body. No matter how lean I get or how many squats or lunges I do, I always feel like my butt carries extra weight.” She goes on to say that she is healthy, has adjusted to the “flaw,” and can still get into her “skinny jeans,” so she’s content.
Still, there’s something about the perfection of a trainer’s body (and her residual insecurity) that sticks in the craw of those of us who seek role models for both our own exercise goals and those of the future generation of young girls who need to lessen their anxieties about body image. Really, when will a woman’s body be good enough that she doesn’t have to point out personal flaws that no one else perceives?
Celebrity culture, magazines, and body image
Women, particularly younger women, are still bombarded today with air-brushed images of models and celebrities — in magazines like Shape, on television, on social media. In fact, the television show “Nightline” recently focused a segment of its show on the topic of the growing rise of cosmetic surgery affiliated with the proliferation of the “selfie.”
When will society finally recognize that “good” is good enough? That perfection (as presented in the media) is unnecessary for a rich and fulfilling life? When will parents start promoting goals for their daughters such as brains, compassion, and friendship over presenting the perfect body image?
As a society, it appears that we are more concerned with the wrapping than what’s in the package. Even when someone dedicates her career and body to physical perfection, like Michaels, it’s simply not achievable in her own mind. We need to ask ourselves, should that be the ultimate goal?