Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

The Perfect Body, as Illustrated by Olympic Athletes » Sociological Images


Female Olympic athletes

The Perfect Body, as Illustrated by Olympic Athletes » Sociological Images.

This amazing pictorial shared by Dr. Lisa Wade of Occidental College from the website Sociological Images is thought-provoking. It shows a wide variety of strong, healthy women and men who pursue their sport to excellence. These images would be a fantastic way to talk with children and adolescents about how they need to think about their bodies. The Thin and Muscular Ideals are shattered by these beautiful images of strength and health that come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors.

And here’s the deal, these people have NOT been photoshopped! Here they are in their natural strength, with bodies that are shaped by pursuing specific sports with a passion. Thanks to Sociological Images for this wonderful article. They have a lot of great images that you can use with children and adolescents to address issues of sexualization and the Thin and Muscular Ideals, so visit their site.

7 comments on “The Perfect Body, as Illustrated by Olympic Athletes » Sociological Images

  1. Pingback: Kim Joon’s Body Art (NSFW) | The Grand Narrative

  2. Fitness and Workout
    May 7, 2011

    Perfect body… make me jealous…

    • Jennifer Shewmaker
      May 8, 2011

      I think the point is, though, that there are no “perfect” bodies. Each body is shaped and formed in different ways genetically and experientially. Each of these individuals has great strength for their particular field.

  3. Jennifer Shewmaker
    April 5, 2011

    All valid points. For me the important thing that these pictures and others like them would show kids is that there all different shapes and sizes of health and strength. You could also use photos of athletes competing in their chosen sports, pictures of plain old everyday people who are working to be healthy, and so forth. Even just talking about the people in your and the child’s life who are healthy but different shapes and sizes would be great. The key issue is to move kids away from being stuck on the Thin or Muscular Ideal and to get them thinking about health and strength.

  4. amy
    April 5, 2011

    it’s a shame that the original post at SI was taken down. 😦

    thank you for posting the pictures and for your commentary!

  5. MakaWee
    April 3, 2011

    perfect for them, as athletes, not for those of us who are not. Soe of us are mothers, gardeners, teachers, nurses, administrators, cooks, husbands, fire fighters, managers, community facilitators, and will never see a body like that. Perfect is subjective and should never be used to define a person.

  6. Rebekah
    March 15, 2011

    I can’t help but notice that all of those women are flat chested, which isn’t exactly reaffirming to those of us who don’t fit that standard.

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