What do you think is "normal?"

What do you think is "normal?"

What do you think is “normal?”  Today, many of us leave it up to media to show and tell us what is “normal” or “average,” most often when compared with what is deemed “beauty.”

And recently, Miss Indiana’s size sparked a national debate on just what “normal” means when her body, a size 4, was termed “average” by thousands of social media commenters.  But if you consider that the “average” American woman is 5 foot 3 inches and wears a size 12-14, and that Mekayla Diehl, Miss Indiana, is actually about 25 pounds heavier than the “average” Miss USA contestant, you can see how our own standards have become grossly distorted.

“Body shaming,” or inappropriate negative statements and attitudes toward another person’s weight or size, can lead to discrimination against individuals who may be overweight.  In the media and beyond, it’s become fodder for conversation about celebrities who haven’t lost their “baby weight.”  And the shaming goes even further – women are shamed for being too tall, too short, too skinny, flat-chested, too plain, too busty…you get the picture.

Fortunately, women are more often noting that, although they realize that looks matter, “my size is not who I am.”  We are also smart, confident, or fun; we are creative, interesting, or successful.  We may not look what is deemed “normal,” but that’s certainly not a bad thing.  Dismissing the significance of weight may be the most important message women –and men- are hearing today.

Ms. Diehl (Miss Indiana) responded to the attention about her size by downplaying it, and by suggesting to girls “You can’t worry about the girl standing next to you because you’ll never be that girl…You can’ worry about being somebody else.”

Dispelling these media myths is such a large piece of our work, from young girls to mature women, and Mekayla Diehl’s message is certainly ours.  Thank you for being a leader on our behalf.

Watch a short news report about the hubbub: