And now, Newsweek has an interview with Alice Domar, author of Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How to Break Free from the Perfection Deception. Domar is identified as "a pioneer in the study of stress and its effect on the body"; the interview here is substantive.
Note that just because I am discouraged at the strict gender presumptions (see previous post) doesn't mean that this isn't largely and legitimately a woman's issue, and an important one. And just because I, although a man, identify with some of the issues at hand, doesn't mean I don't understand that gender can, still, play a factor in the discussion. The body image problem, for instance, which Domar identifies as the "number one" perfectionist issue, most definitely--and sadly--affects many, many more women than men.
Body image problems are a particularly insidious form of mind-body disease. A woman with a body that may literally be healthy, although perhaps larger than she believes is "attractive," feels ongoing and maybe increasing stress about this perception. This in turn can cause actual physical health problems.
I read about a study once that showed that fatter women who lived in a culture in which fat was not socially stigmatized were far healthier than the same-sized women in the U.S.--far less prone to heart disease and other conditions we associated with overweight bodies. That's rather eye-opening; the implication is that some of the health problems we here automatically ascribe to the simple fact of being "overweight" may be much less straightforward than the traditional medical establishment--not to mention the diet industry--would have us believe.
This sounds like the subject of another post. And, in any case, if I can turn up the details of that study, I'll come back with more concrete information.