#Idea – Should ‘body positivity’ come with a caveat? / 11.08.17

Some studies of anorexics show that the media’s use of size 0 models has helped ‘normalise’ the idea of being dangerously skinny.

Basically; these ultra-thin (and often unhealthy) people are presented as ‘models’ – defined literally as “a standard or example for imitation or comparison.” (dictionary.com definition).

You know what comes next: emotional and physical suffering to the many who try to follow this example. Some people even die from consequences related to underweight.

Which means that the fashion industry has something else to answer for (…asides from overpriced merchandise and what is arguably a wasteful approach to the use of clothing).

The flip side of the ‘cult of size 0’ is the ‘body positivity’ movement – which, in reaction to these ads implying that we are ’not thin enough’, tells people that they are fine – no matter how big or small they are. Which seems reasonable.

However, while fat may be fine on a cosmetic level (after all, it’s your body and you get to make the aesthetic choices), there’s no disputing that that the more overweight you are, the worse it is for your health.

Article about weight - black and white model photo
Photo by Engin_Akyurt (Pixabay)

Caveat: I’m not saying that there are not ‘healthy fat people’, but I am saying that statistically, the more overweight you are, the more likely you are to suffer from (and die of) complications related to your health. Most of us agree with this – and there is an enormous volume of medical literature that agrees.

Which brings us back to body positivity…

Isn’t it equally as reckless to promote the idea that being seriously overweight is ‘OK’? To normalise overweight and the ill-health that often accompanies it?

Put another way, is this a moving of the ‘aspirational’ needle from one extreme to another?

People don’t usually talk about this because we are so afraid of offending people who take commentary on overweight as attacks on them, personally.

We know that overweight people are bullied, purely for their weight (‘fat shaming’). And we know that the same thing happens to thin people (‘thin shaming’), so we can see where they are coming from.

Yet, it is important to draw the distinction between the use of empirical data to inform people about something, and criticism/bullying. Put another way, it is important to be mature enough to accept feedback as feedback, not an opportunity to take offence.

black and white model photo
Photo by Engin_Akyurt (Pixabay)

For those on the other side, it is important not to roll over and allow people to use political correctness as a metaphorical sledgehammer; a means to ignore data and quash healthy debate.

Being very overweight may be increasingly normal in what many are calling our ‘gradually fattening’ society – but ‘normal’ is not a synonym for ‘good’.

That’s not to say that I am suggesting people should ‘be thinner’ or ‘be fatter’. I’m not suggesting anything – given the opportunity, people tend to do what people will want to do.

This is my perspective, informed by my experiences. As other people will have lead different lives and had different experiences, their perspectives will differ. However, data does not care about differences of perspective or opinion – though we may interpret it differently.

#Idea – Nobody else’s definition of success applies to you / 19.07.17

Success is being able to spend your life doing what you want to do. That’s it.

And, because what you want to do is not exactly the same as what others want to do, success is entirely subjective.

Success is like happiness. Other people’s subjective feelings or definitions of happiness cannot make you happy. Other people’s definitions of success cannot make you successful. It’s deeply personal and unique.

Which means that, actually finding out what you really want to do may be the harder part.

It’s also worth noting that, if what it takes for you to feel successful is harder, then it will be harder for you to be successful. This is neither good nor bad – it just is.

Photo by Anne Worner

#Idea – When Your Art Can Be Turned Into An Algorithm You Are No Longer Useful / 20.04.17

If your art can be reduced to a science
Then an algorithm can replace what you do.

And since, on a macro level everything can be reduced to physics
Any art could theoretically be reduced to a science
Given enough time and study.

And, if this is so,
What is to become of you and me?

That said…
Perhaps the algorithm can replace what you do
But it cannot replace who you are
And so the focus in future may be upon human beings
As oppose to human doings.

Image Credit: Google DeepDream