Today in a fitting room I overheard the conversation of two young girls, who were talking about dieting. One of them asked – How do you think I will put on weight if I will eat today? – Western world has serious issues with the body obsession. If a decade ago it was mostly a females’ problem, then now it has become a concern of males as well. If you will compare Cosmopolitan with Men’s Health you will find a lot of common in these two magazines.

Postmodernist sociologist Jean Baudrillard argued that we live in ‘hyperreality’, because we are trying to achieve non – existing ideals. In contemporary culture one is constantly exposed to visual media which promote standardised beauty. Liz Frost points out that “advertising may have replaced actual role models with unachievable fantasy objects.” Images are edited to show body as good as possible. Image editing software such as Adobe PS will make one slimmer, younger and even will change the skin colour if necessary. In Western countries an average person is exposed to over 2 000 advertisements every day. We absorb the messages, which these images are sending to us, even though we might not look at advertisement and think what does it show, we still read the signs unconsciously.

People who are not enslaved by the slender ideals are seen as weak and lacking capability to control themselves. I am not suggesting to eat fast food and other so called ‘guilty food’ daily, however, we should not forget that one piece of cake won’t make us fat. Problem arises when the balance is destroyed. It is good to have a healthy lifestyle, but obsession with it is an issue. We always want something more. In my opinion long legs and ‘six pack’ are overrated. The most important is how you feel. If those few kilograms do not make you feel bad physically, then why are you torturing yourself mentally? The truth is if you won’t be satisfied with your current body image, most likely you won’t find yourself more beautiful after loosing those kilos and getting body of Jennifer Aniston or Ryan Gosling’s muscles for men. We are born different and our identities have to be something much deeper than aspirations for photoshopped face and body in real life.

Emile Durkheim in 1897 wrote “to pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable, is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness.” Why do we strongly believe that happiness is always one step or even farer away from us?