Olympic Images – beauty and achievement in motion
Author’s note: I wrote this in August but did not quite get the final touches done until now!
I am wasting my weekend watching the spectacle of the Olympics on TV. I have loved the Olympics since I was a little girl, and I keep watching even though I am thinking “I should be writing or housecleaning or….”
I just can’t tear myself away even with the incredibly repetitive commercials.
A recurring theme in my mind is how differently fabulous all the athletes’ bodies are. We are bombarded by a fashion world where female models are emaciated and male models are getting pretty lean too, where photo-shopping is standard operating procedure and manscaping is, well, I’m not even going to go there. (Apparently there is nothing safe from the razor any longer.) All for appearance. Young women at my sons’ schools are waxed, tanned, highlighted, exfoliated and polished within an inch of Miley Cyrus. My older son who is fifteen wants me to provide him with a tooth whitening kit. There is nothing wrong with the color of his teeth but he now has the media and peer-induced idea that whiter than natural is better.
I know the Olympics have evoked plenty of twitter about the hotness of the bodies and the scantiness of some “uniforms”. Honestly, I have no problem with seeing incredibly fit men and women showing some skin that, instead of being plumped with silicone inserts and smoothed with liposuction, ripples over muscle that has become fantastically toned through hours of hard work. These role models get messy hair and they sweat and grimace and grunt with effort and most of the women aren’t wearing makeup. The variety of heights, weights, and body types appears to be limitless.
But every one of these athletes has a very important thing in common. They all worked their butts off for YEARS to achieve something. They have lived apart from their families, remained on strict but healthy diets, and pushed themselves mentally and physically beyond anything most of us can imagine. No instant gratification. No roar of the crowd or paparazzi for months at a time, if ever.
Now that’s a role model.