|Put on ANTM in front of me, and I can be on the ellipticals for hours...
||[10 Feb 2009|12:45am]
Feb 8, 2009 cont'd
Today, I went to the LA Country Museum of Art (LACMA) for the second time ever. It's such a wondrous place, always different, life-enrichening exhibits going on. Anyone who visits LA should definitely head over to LACMA to get a taste of the world in one location.
I went there to one of its theaters to see a screening of the 2006 documentary "Thin" for extra credit for sociology class. I definitely need to do this extra credit because I have a few assignments missing, and the EC would almost completely make up for it. I just have to write about it, being as in depth as possible, and hopefully expand on it.
It was, indeed, the powerful documentary it promised to be. I'd heard of this documentary before, and have been meaning to watch it for a long time now. It's a documentary that follows four young women battling with their eating disorders at Renfrew Rehab Center in Florida. It is very emotional, shocking, and at times disgusting, but very educational. I can definitely see how people can get touched and personally changed by this movie.
However, it didn't hit me in the way I thought it would. It focused on women who were undergoing the most extreme cases of anorexia and bulimia. They had already undergone numerous hospitalizations before being admitted to the rehab center, and this movie documents the ups, downs, and drama of all those girls in that place. Sure, it shows us the extremes that women want to avoid in their endeavors to be "thin" and be beautiful to their own (society's?) standards. But... what if they're not to such an extreme yet? What about all the insecurity that leads up to that? The background stories as to why they might even begin unhealthfully trying to lose weight? I was hoping in a way this this could be more of a preventative, inspirational documentary somehow, that by showing statistics or exploring into the psychology of the pressures of media (etc), it could in the end show that the superficiality isn't worth the suffering. I wanted this movie to aim at the hearts of those every day girls struggling with their body image and somehow prove to them that we don't have to idealize those people on the magazine covers or walking down runways. There's a surprising number of people dealing with their own varying levels of eating disorder/ body image/ depression on the matter, even if it might not be diagnosed as such. It's easy to separate ourselves from those women in Thin and say, "Well, I'm not that bad off, this doesn't apply to me" and continue harming their lives. There are degrees of sickness, degrees of pressure, degrees of insecurity and bad feelings. So much so that most people go along without anyone noticing it in them. And I believe this applies to most people, whether you want to admit that about yourself or not. All these varying degrees in people are so easy to hide. Most of your friends, probably even your family, don't know about your self-image, do they? Isn't it easy to put that mask on? At least some of use are willing to admit to that mask and are working on it. I think that also applies to a lot of people. They're dealing with it (or suffering with it) in their own way.
This brings me to an interesting experiment assigned to us by our sociology teacher, that I will conduct tomorrow and write a 3 to 4 page paper on. It's a 3-parter, all to be conducted in absolute privacy:
Part 1: Look at yourself in the mirror for 20 minutes. What do you normally do when looking at yourself in the mirror? Judge your looks? Criticize? Don't do that in these 20 minutes. Only look at yourself, with Beginner's Mind. Beginner's Mind has no idea what it is about to see. It has no expectations, nor preconceived notions. It just sees what it sees.
Part 2a: Remove all your clothes. Look at yourselve in the mirror for ten minutes, in the mentality that you are Naked. Being Naked is just like when you go shower. There is no judgment, no awareness or sensitivity to your nakedness. You just have no clothes on.
Part 2b: Now look at yourself in the mirror for ten minutes in the mentality that you are Nude. You have no clothes on, and you are aware of every judgement that could come your way. If all of society was looking at your naked body, this is what you are feeling. All your friends, classmates, strangers, acquaintances, professionals, "beautiful" people in the world all have their eyes on you and are judging. How are you feeling? Look at yourself in the Nude for ten minutes.
Part 3: Go the next 24 hours without looking at a mirror or any reflective surface at all. Go about your normal day, just don't look at any mirrors.
Reflect on this experiment you have done. It may be helpful to write about it. What were your thoughts and feelings? Did you learn anything about yourself? I've yet to conduct this experiment, so I hope I get something out of it. I wonder how it will make me feel, or what I discover, if anything. I'm glad sociology class opens up perspectives for us, challenging our status quo and have us try new things. I think personally, I really need an experiment like this, like I think it was good for me to see that movie.