Which of the popular cartoon movies did you see while you were growing up? Which movies have your children seen? And which ones do they watch over and over again?
These charming and delightful movies entertain and enchant us …
But some of their side-effects can be a little less enchanting. While we enjoy the pretty cartoon-like forms of the characters, it’s worth being aware of how these images can influence us and affect us in subtle ways, whether we’re fully aware of this or not.
You wouldn’t think we’d be so silly as to aspire to be like cartoon figures, but, in a world that sets us up to compare ourselves with media images, these pervasive characters have a powerful effect in shaping our concepts of what’s ideal, beautiful – and even what is ‘normal’!
Compare your eyes to your waist!
Some of these extreme body shapes that appear in cartoon movies have been highlighted on the comedy website Above Average where they placed coloured bars over the waists and eyes of the female heroines to compare their width.
What this clearly shows is that, what seems to be pretty and pleasing, has become a distorted exaggeration.
We get used to seeing these proportions!
As conscious adults, we’re aware that we’re watching a fantasy world, but it’s worth reflecting on some of the subliminal messages that are being absorbed when we’re at a younger and more impressionable age.
Things have gone so far now that it’s unusual to see women with regular, more ‘normal’ proportions in the media. Subtly, obviously and continuously over time, we’ve become accustomed to extreme shapes and PhotoShopped looks and images.
And it isn’t only young children that are affected
All over the internet one can see pictures that compare real-life people with cartoon characters. More and more, women are going to extreme lengths to try and look like the artificial images that they’ve grown up with and that they continue to see around them.
Life isn’t PhotoShop!
If you’ve absorbed these images – or any other images in the media that have led you to look at yourself with critical eyes – then remind yourself to get back to reality.
Have conversations with your children – and with yourself
This isn’t to ruin the delight that we get from these lovely movies, but to ensure that we know what’s real and what’s not.
Simply having the awareness of the artificial body shapes is a good place to start. This helps to prevent the idealised and impossible proportions from becoming entrenched as something to aspire to.
Let’s see things clearly
The images of ‘beauty’ that are presented to us are generally so narrow and limiting that almost no women are able to see and value their own unique and individual beauty.
I encounter many, many women who feel dissatisfied with how they look and who feel that there’s something wrong with their perfectly normal and lovely shapes.
Let it start with you!
Make every effort to retrain your own eyes so that you can see natural beauty in yourself and in other women. Learn to value and appreciate the wide variety of beauty that exists and celebrate it daily.