Intimate Clarity

Clarity On Body Shaming

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: IC

Program Code: IC180105A

00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues
00:03 related to sexuality.
00:05 Parents are cautioned
00:06 this presentation may be too candid
00:08 for younger audiences.
00:30 Welcome to Intimate Clarity.
00:31 I'm Jason Bradley and with me is Jennifer Jill Schwirzer.
00:35 She is a licensed professional counselor,
00:37 and today we're going to be discussing a sensitive topic
00:40 but it's a conversation we need to have.
00:42 Jen, what is body shaming? No, body shaming.
00:46 Well, it's a little bit of a nuanced issue.
00:47 Okay.
00:49 We can see,
00:50 a certain amount of body shame is actually normal, like,
00:53 people don't walk around naked.
00:55 In fact, that's considered a pathology.
00:57 It's called exhibitionistic disorder
01:00 and it's in the diagnostic manual.
01:01 So if we were just to run around naked
01:03 that would be an illness, really.
01:05 Yeah, I am pretty sure you get arrested for that too.
01:07 Yeah, I'm pretty sure too.
01:08 But it would be a problem on multiple levels.
01:11 But let's go scroll back to Eden
01:13 and kind of get our biblical bearings
01:15 on this body shame issue.
01:17 There was a time when humanity didn't feel
01:20 any sense of body shame at all,
01:22 and I would argue they didn't feel
01:23 any sense of self-consciousness at all.
01:26 And we see that before the fall,
01:28 they were naked and not ashamed.
01:31 Okay.
01:32 Then the fall comes into human experience
01:34 and what's the first thing they do?
01:35 They run and hide. While they...
01:37 Before they even ran and hid, they created fig leaf garments,
01:42 so I imagine like they made kind of like bathing suits
01:44 out of fig leaves, you know, to try to cover themselves
01:47 and particularly cover themselves
01:49 in the private areas.
01:51 So we see like body shame come into human experience
01:54 at that point and like I said before,
01:56 a certain amount of that is really normal for human beings.
02:01 But what the enemy does
02:03 is he tries to take advantage of that body shame
02:06 and take it way beyond where it needs to go.
02:08 How so?
02:10 Well, for instance,
02:11 the incredible self-consciousness
02:13 that we feel about how we look,
02:16 I think that's a big issue particularly for women
02:19 because there's more pressure on women to look
02:22 just so than I would argue than there is on men,
02:24 although it's there too.
02:26 Yeah, I'd agree with that. Yeah.
02:28 So let me give you some statistics here
02:31 that help illustrate this.
02:33 Seventy percent of women,
02:35 18 to 30 years old don't like the way they look.
02:39 Seventy percent? A vast majority of women.
02:42 Eighteen to thirty years old
02:44 which is the best looking you'll ever be, 18 to 30.
02:48 And they're still not happy
02:49 with how they look, you know, like their bodies.
02:50 That's a high percentage. That's a high percentage.
02:53 The same thing is true of men but not quite as high.
02:55 So 43% of men don't like the way they look.
02:57 Same age? Same age range, yes.
02:59 Okay.
03:00 Only 20% of men
03:03 and 11% of women are body positive,
03:06 so there's a little margin in there
03:07 that people are kind of neutral or apathetic.
03:10 But there's only 20% of men and 11% of women
03:12 that are actually happy with the way they look.
03:15 So let me give you some idea how that comes about,
03:18 and I think that part of it is just innate, you know,
03:20 in us to be ashamed now that we're fallen.
03:25 But I think the media and the world
03:29 really accentuates it through various means.
03:32 So let me give you an example of one of the ways.
03:35 A human G.I. Joe, if you were to take the G.I. Joe doll
03:38 and make it into a human being,
03:40 it would have a 44-inch chest and a 29-inch waist...
03:43 Twenty nine-inch waist?
03:45 Which is the rare man that has those measurements.
03:46 Yeah. That is so unreal.
03:49 'Cause the average man is basically
03:51 is a 39-inch chest and a 40-inch waist.
03:55 Okay. So it's just totally different.
03:57 But it gets even worse, okay?
03:58 So for women, a Barbie,
04:02 it's measurements would be 36-18-33.
04:08 If you've ever taken your measurements
04:09 as a woman, you know
04:11 that is like way off of what any normal woman
04:14 would be shaped like
04:15 and she would have a 9-inch inch neck.
04:19 So basically her neck would be nonexistent,
04:21 that's what you are saying.
04:22 Exactly, like the neck of an average woman
04:24 is about 15 inches and a Barbie would have...
04:26 I think mine, I have a really skinny neck,
04:29 but my neck is way bigger than 9 inches.
04:32 You know, I remember sitting on a...
04:33 I was putting on a shirt
04:35 and my husband was sitting on the bed
04:37 and the collar of the shirt kept falling down and I said,
04:41 "I should put something in the collar of the shirt
04:42 to make it stand up," and he said,
04:44 "How about a neck."
04:45 Because I have a skinny neck.
04:47 But a 9 inch neck is like almost
04:49 a non-existent neck like you said.
04:51 So that's what a Barbie would look like,
04:52 if it was a real person.
04:54 Obviously, we're putting an image
04:55 in front of our young girls of an ideal of female beauty
05:01 which is really not beautiful,
05:03 it's odd if you see it in human form.
05:05 It's highly unrealistic and I think that accentuates
05:09 what I'm calling body shame.
05:11 Yeah, and so the media uses body shame
05:14 to commercial advantage.
05:15 So let me flesh something out for you here.
05:17 Okay.
05:19 Basically a lot of women
05:21 are getting breast implants these days.
05:24 If you look at television from 20-25 years ago,
05:29 the women were overall much smaller
05:31 in that department, if I could say it that way.
05:33 Yeah.
05:34 But today you see a lot more of the ideal female body
05:38 being at large breasted.
05:39 Well, that's because right at the time
05:41 when breasts became fashionable,
05:43 they also became more available,
05:46 they became a commodity, so to speak.
05:49 So breast implants became safer,
05:53 they became more affordable for the average women,
05:55 and lo and behold the media starts to promote them
05:57 by promoting this really unrealistic ideal
06:01 or this ideal that isn't really ideal
06:03 for every body type,
06:04 and now every woman feels like they need that
06:07 or many women feel like they need that.
06:09 Not to mention the back problems
06:10 that are probably associated
06:12 with women getting breast implants.
06:13 That's right.
06:15 One in 26 women
06:16 or 4% of women get breast augmentation.
06:21 The breast implant industry makes over
06:23 a billion dollars a year.
06:25 So there's a huge commercial advantage.
06:28 A billion dollars? That's right. That's right.
06:30 A lot of money, a lot of money.
06:31 In fashion, there's a lot of money.
06:33 In media, in general,
06:36 if you look at the anchor women from 20-25 years ago,
06:40 they looked like normal women
06:41 but now they look like supermodels.
06:44 They're, you know, they're...
06:45 Everything, the way they dress,
06:46 very, very some of the provocatively dressed
06:50 because the ante is being upped.
06:53 You know, you also see that at a lot of conventions,
06:56 you know, how we are talking about
06:57 body shaming and all of that.
06:59 You see that in a lot of conventions,
07:00 you go to these big cable conventions
07:03 or whatever the convention may be
07:05 and people know that
07:07 there might be a lot of men there,
07:08 so they specifically position these ladies
07:13 to be dressed in something that's tight and provocative.
07:17 That's right.
07:18 And so you see that at these conventions
07:20 where decision makers are going to be,
07:22 they are trying to appeal to a man's sexual nature,
07:26 a perverted sexual nature.
07:29 Yeah, yeah.
07:30 I've heard that this thing that people put
07:33 on any kind of visuals at a booth
07:35 is a woman in a red dress because that will...
07:38 That's the most universally appealing visual
07:40 that will draw people to a given booth.
07:41 Wow.
07:43 So I haven't worn a red dress since then.
07:47 But another area where body shaming comes in
07:50 is in the area of thinness, an ideal of thinness
07:53 that is unrealistic
07:55 and doesn't fit every body type.
07:57 So what we have in the fashion industry
07:59 is a lot of women
08:01 that are extremely, extremely thin
08:03 and the reason that they choose these thin models
08:06 is because you can focus on the clothes more.
08:09 They say that the model is almost like a coat hanger.
08:11 She really has no shape of her own.
08:13 So the clothes just fall on her body
08:15 and you focus on the clothes
08:17 instead of the body that's under the clothes.
08:19 So there's this unrealistic ideal of thinness
08:21 and I went through that as a young person,
08:23 I developed anorexia and it was pretty severe.
08:28 I got to the point,
08:29 at one point where I weighed 85 pounds
08:32 which is basically like 20 pounds off me now.
08:36 So I was extremely thin,
08:38 really, kind of on death's doorstep.
08:40 But by the grace of God, I came out of that.
08:42 One of the things that helped me through it
08:45 was that I started to idealize the body as...
08:50 I started to see the body as something for service.
08:55 So I idealized health rather than beauty.
08:58 So my body was not an ornament to sit on a shelf.
09:02 It was an instrument
09:04 to be used in service to others.
09:05 I like that.
09:07 And then, I started to think, "Well, I want to be strong.
09:09 I don't want to be skinny.
09:10 I want to be strong so that I can serve more people
09:12 in more ways," and that really helped me cycle out of that.
09:15 Yeah.
09:16 Wow, well, praise the Lord for that deliverance.
09:18 I'm glad I got through. Yeah.
09:22 I don't know the numbers of people
09:25 that are struggling with that.
09:27 It would be interesting one day to look at the statistics
09:31 of people that are dealing with anorexia.
09:34 Anorexia and bulimia are the two most
09:36 common eating disorders and they're both characterized
09:38 by an undue amount of importance
09:41 being placed on thinness.
09:44 Anorexia is more starving
09:47 your body down to a very low weight.
09:50 Bulimia involves bingeing and purging.
09:52 But both of them, in both of them
09:54 the individual is very focused on body weight.
09:57 And I think that that's a direct result
09:59 of the media and how it holds up
10:01 this unrealistic ideal of thinness
10:03 because we don't see anorexia or bulimia in populations
10:09 that don't have as much fashion influence.
10:12 And anywhere in the world
10:14 where there's been any kind of starvation
10:16 or hunger, you don't see any kind of eating disorders
10:18 because if you've got food
10:19 you're going to eat it, you know?
10:21 So it's pretty much a phenomena that effects the Western world.
10:24 Yeah, that sounds like me.
10:25 If I have food, I'm gonna eat it.
10:27 You are gonna eat it. Yeah.
10:28 I love food. Yeah, me too.
10:29 I don't know what got into me but it was just so important
10:32 to me during that period to be just stick thin
10:34 that I didn't really think about eating anymore.
10:38 It was really crazy.
10:39 You know, it's amazing how sometimes you can see
10:44 that people will allow culture to shape their values
10:46 as opposed to the Bible, the Word of God,
10:50 and when we end up doing that,
10:51 we end up in a world of trouble
10:53 because one thing that's constant is God's Word.
10:57 And the enemy is going to try to shame us.
10:59 He likes to take that sort of natural shame
11:02 that we have as a result of our fallen condition
11:05 and really sort of enlarge it, and amplify it, and then use it
11:09 to manipulate us into all kinds of unhealthy ways
11:11 of trying to cope with that shame
11:13 or trying to numb that shame.
11:15 But if you think about it that naked
11:17 and not ashamed experience is something that in sexuality,
11:23 in the context of a committed loving marriage,
11:25 we return to that naked and not ashamed experience.
11:29 And so that's very powerful benefit
11:32 that comes to married couples,
11:33 but it can also come to people outside of a marriage
11:36 when they cultivate a relationship with God.
11:39 Because, you know,
11:41 I think when God came along in the Garden of Eden,
11:43 He cobbled together these skins.
11:46 He said, you're going to need more than them,
11:47 fig leaves, you know.
11:49 So He got these skin garments together.
11:50 So God made them and then God clothed them
11:53 in those skins and that, of course,
11:56 symbolizes the righteousness
11:57 of Jesus covering us in our sinfulness.
11:59 But I think personally, this my personal opinion,
12:02 can't prove it, that God looked at them and He said,
12:04 "You're going to have to take those fig leaves off
12:06 because I'm going to put this over the fig leaves."
12:08 Fig leaves are very scratchy by the way.
12:11 And so they hardly had that moment
12:12 where they were naked with God.
12:14 And we could have that experience with Him.
12:17 We can go to him and tell him
12:18 the deepest darkest parts of ourselves.
12:21 He knows them anyway.
12:22 But we can voluntarily reveal them,
12:24 that's called confession.
12:26 So that's what you meant outside of the confines
12:29 'cause I was waiting to see where you were going.
12:31 I was like, "Where is she going with this?"
12:32 Physical intimacy is confined to marriage,
12:35 but we can have a spiritual naked
12:36 and not ashamed experience with God,
12:38 through confessing our sin
12:40 and being honest about ourselves.
12:42 Our weaknesses, our sins, our struggles, our fears,
12:45 we can tell God, who already knows them all anyway,
12:48 but there is something in the telling.
12:49 Yes.
12:50 You know, there's a voluntary revealing
12:52 of who we are at our baseline,
12:55 who we really are in the dark so to speak.
12:58 And we can do that on a level with God
12:59 that we can't do with any other human being.
13:01 Yes.
13:02 And so I just want to remind us all,
13:04 let's take advantage of that naked
13:05 and not ashamed experience
13:07 and whether you're married or not,
13:08 you can go to God and you can have
13:10 that experience with Him.
13:11 Absolutely.
13:13 That's one of the things
13:14 that is a very intimate situation
13:17 is when you confess your sins to God.
13:19 It is.
13:20 And you are forgiven for those sins
13:22 and you're cleansed from that,
13:25 and then you go back into that relationship
13:29 stronger than before.
13:30 Than ever before. Absolutely.
13:31 It's a beautiful thing
13:33 and we can experience a little of that
13:35 unashamed intimacy in our married relationships.
13:40 That's where the sexual, you know, intimacy takes place.
13:42 But even in our friendships, you know,
13:45 as we deepen in our walk with the Lord,
13:48 we start to feel safer and more trusting
13:51 toward other people and we get better
13:53 at picking good friends too.
13:54 That's important. Yes.
13:56 You got to make sure you surround yourself
13:57 with the right people.
13:59 That's right. That's right.
14:00 So a quick unpack of what... A quick summary?
14:04 Naked and not ashamed.
14:05 The body shaming is something sort of natural to us
14:08 but the enemy takes advantage of it.
14:10 Let's learn to accept ourselves the way we are.
14:12 Wow.
14:14 I love how you covered all of that
14:16 in that short amount of time.
14:17 I am looking forward to talking to you next time.
14:19 Join us next time.


Revised 2018-08-02