“Why is this so good?:” Lisa Firestone writes about women’s body image

As I was looking up articles written about women’s health and lifestyle topics, I continually came across short, list-like articles giving the top exercises or quick tips on diet or fashion. They were short and attention grabbing, but without much substance. While I do enjoy these articles for what they are, I appreciate articles with more depth when it comes to women’s health and lifestyle. After searching, I eventually came across an article called “What’s Really Keeping You Out Of Your Swimsuit This Summer” by Lisa Firestone, on the Huffington Post website in their “Healthy Living” section. Although it was written in the summer of 2011, the article is still pertinent today because it focuses on body image, especially as we near summer this year. It grabbed my attention from the start, so I decided to look into what makes this article so good.

What caught my attention first about this article is the personal narrative that Firestone includes throughout most of the article. She begins with a narrative about her niece and how body image can affect people starting at such a young age and continues to express the stories of people of all ages who still experience body image problems. I think the inclusion of these narratives give the story a greater context and put faces with the story. When someone reads a story about another person, it often becomes easier to emotionally connect with what the article is trying to say and since the topic of this article is emotional, it was important to give it a life. I think one Firestone’s best use of narrative was in this paragraph:

A friend of mine recently told me how down on herself she feels about getting older and confessed how she continually compares herself negatively to “younger, prettier girls.” She showed me an old picture of herself, of the “skinny and youthful” woman she once was. When I asked her how she felt about herself at that time, she remembered that the very day the picture was taken, she’d felt fat, ugly and full of the same self-hate she felt today.

The paragraph shows how someone is continually struggling with body image. For many women, this passage is one they can personally connect with.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 11.50.43 AM

Lisa Firestone is a psychology expert. Screenshot by Mackenzie Henshaw

Another reason this article stood out was due to Firestone’s use of factual detail. For health articles to resound with their audience, they must include some sort of fact that explains why the author is true in what they are writing. Firestone works in psychology, so her explanations do have background in this article because it largely deals with the psychological affects of body image. Sentences like the one below even link to an outside source that gives more detail on the psychology behind the statement.

Our bodies are often the biggest target of our Critical Inner Voice. No matter where we stand in life, it informs us of our many imperfections and keeps us from fully enjoying ourselves or relaxing in our own skin.

Finally, I think this article works so well because Firestone does a great job of tying the article into the context of the season. This article was written in July, a time when many people are starting to wear less clothing and venturing into the season of swimsuits. As people are beginning experiencing feelings of criticism towards their body, this article reminds them that they are not alone and that there is help. She writes the sentence below which encompasses the point of the article as a whole:

The sad truth is that, in peeling off the layers of our wintry wardrobes, we expose ourselves to a whole new world of self-critical thoughts.

I think this article dealt with the topic of body image in an artful way. It is a sensitive subject to many women, but I think Firestone handled it well in her writing. She gives real life examples of people who are affected by it and also offers explanations of why it happens to so many people. I think as a health article this one covers all the bases to resound with an audience. It’s well written, factually correct and also emotionally captivating. All these factors together make the article so good.

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