Dieting & Body Image in Sailor Moon (Episode 3)

Discussion: What We Think

“While the overall message is definitely quite positive, the ‘normal’ body type still remains slender and thin. Something about Luna’s mocking of a fat Serena reminds the watcher that being fat isn’t cool. Furthermore, Luna reminds us that if Serena kept to her normal eating habits, she would look like she does, normal and slender; so fatness is seen as deviant and a result of lack of self control, which may not always be the case.” –Joanna (23, ♀)

“I think that’s definitely a problem today, because a lot of younger girls (aka preteens or tweens) watch this and start to think that gaining half a pound is like tragic. I think the clip showed sailor moon as being very ignorant towards the people (aka her family and cat thing lol) that were helping her say that it doesn’t matter. It’s giving an impression to young kids, especially girls that it’s bad to gain weight and be fat.” –Sadaf (20, ♀)

“On the one hand, it can be argued that this episode serves to satirize the widespread obsession with body image by depicting Serena’s panic at having gained a mere half pound. However this episode seems to normalize the obsession that our society has with body image. Also, it sends a negative message to girls to depict the central heroine being so obessessed with her weight, rather than the important sailor business that Luna seeks to focus Serena’s attention on. This teaches children that young women should be more focused on their body image rather than the more important priorities in their life.” –Wilhelmina (22, ♀)

Discussion: Other Perspectives

“It’s very good because it’s a good message about why you shouldn’t be put on a strict diet. You should at least exercise. [When asked about Serena’s reaction:] I think she got totally shocked. Half a pound isn’t really a lot and you shouldn’t worry about it because you’ll lose it really easily … the message is just don’t stop eating.” –John (10, ♂)

“Why is sailor moon freaking out over half a pound … [sailor moon is being] silly and the drawing the cat made was funny.” –Anonymous (9, ♀)

“In my opinion the girl needs to stop crying, not worry about it and hit the cat with a stick. Also I believe that it makes guys think that girls are cry babies but truthfully I don’t think the kids would even notice.” –Anonymous (20, ♂)

Continue the Discussion: Tell Us What You Think


11 Responses to “Dieting & Body Image in Sailor Moon (Episode 3)”

  1. 1 tiana February 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    media targets women wayy too much and lowers their self esteem and confidence.

  2. 2 LooLu February 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I honestly think that Serena is being lame. I mean this is the REASON WHY GIRLS TODAY FREAK OUT over .077666 of a pound, which they gain. it’s sad really, television should teach better things.

  3. 3 Bushra February 21, 2010 at 3:21 am

    I used to watch this show religiously as a preteen. It is true that society is obsessed with body image, especially young females, and the ideal body type is something most young women strive to achieve. This clip demonstrates and embodies that desire. the video emphasized that gaining a small amount of weight was the end of the world. Sailor moon’s family on the other hand seemed very positive about her 1/2 lbs weight gain crisis. Video clips as such, i feel, encourage sailor moon’s response to weight gain and indirectly enforces the undesirability of being “fat”. I think society needs to focus more on being HEALTHY rather than being KATE MOSS!

  4. 4 Alyssa February 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    While Serena is being an idiot, the voice of Luna in this episode helps to offset the bad body image message. The end of the episode also has a moral, and Serena learns that she should eat healthy and that’s all that matters. I actually think, contrary to previous comments, that through the character of Luna we do see some good points about healthy eating.

  5. 5 Shegoofie February 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    There it goes again.

    One more time media dictates the ideal body type.God forbid, if you were to weigh more than a slice of bread, it’d have to change…oh the horror of being 1/2 pound overweight!

    What’s shocking is that the audience for the show is mostly preteens who shouldn’t even care for that sort of thing given the age.I know I didn’t at that age.I still don’t but I do care about being healthy.And that’s what should be the focus of parents’ and teachers – to influence healthier eating and exercise.

  6. 6 Zakia February 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    That drawing of sailor moon by Luna was hilarious!

    But jokes apart, I think Luna was being supportive of Serena by being sarcastic about the whole weight gain thing just to kind of show her it’s silly to be so preoccupied by something so trivial.

  7. 7 ImperfectBeauty February 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Aesop in his fables always conveyed a moral at the end of every story; which is why so many parents (back in the day) loved reading it to them. Why don’t shows do something like that?
    The problem is the lack of clarity in the message.

    I vivdly remember anticipating the arrival home form school to watch “Sailor Moon” five days a week however watching this now, years later, startles me in a way that really shouldn’t be that surprising. As a child up until about my preteens, the subtle messages conveyed here such as the importance of keeping a slender form never hit me directly. In fact, I cannot give you an exact source of where the insecurities about my body derived from when they did.

    That is the frightening part. The mere fact that we have allowed ourselves to be so consumed by this hinders us from seeing where it all began. This episode aired over a decade ago and children’s shows have not gotten any better. In fact, it has evolved.

    If this scene was supposed to portray a “positive” note to young women, it did a terrible job. If the message was intended to bring about self-confidence, the message was not clear. Pictures scream a thousand words and seeing Serena (the main character) idolize her weight problem over more important matters invites women to do the same thing.

    God forbid the megaforce takes over before we all starve to death on our way to the washroom scale.

  8. 8 ImperfectBeauty February 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Just a few thoughts on the contrary to what I stated earlier…

    This is more of a commentary of how our society is now.
    Anything portrayed less than this would be unrealistic.
    There is nothing to suggest that this could cause women to self-doubt their worth.
    Luna is being the voice of reason. In one part of the clip she asks Serena how much she ate. Ultimately she is holding Serenca accountable to her actions. She has the choice to make wise decisions such as eating healthy.
    She always has the choice of not worrying so much about her weight.

    There will always be external factors influencing you, some more evident than others. But in the end, it is your choice to use that God-given brain and rationalize your options.

    Is dieting really going to help me loose weight? Is loosing weight really going to give me that body I want? Is getting that body I want really going to make me happy?

    In the end, it is realizing where you place your worth. That is something the world cannot teach. One could argue the psychological factors of conditioning a person through this kind of media but if you consider where it all begins, you’ll find it begins with you thinking the media is right without first weighing out your options (pun heavily included…heavily).

  9. 9 Kelly February 22, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    The message of about dieting is that it is necessary in order to maintain a slender figure. Yet, Luna correctly points out that Serena’s eating habits are horrible and if she had stuck to her regime than she would not be facing the dreaded weight gain of half a pound. Overall, the message is clear, girls need to be thin and watch what they eat.
    I did not watch sailor moon as avidly as others here on the forum but I think if more people took Serena’s approach of watching her weight and realizing she was eating junk food instead of healthy foods then many people would not be overweight or obese. This is my opinion as a young adult. Furthermore, since Sailor Moon is geared for children and preteens, its message has great impact. Growing up as a child, I never felt the pressure to be thin until I was in my late teen years. Therefore, this message about maintaining your weight and dieting to lose excess weight would have harmful affects on those children and preteens who already have a negative relationship with their body and would use the media to justify that their body does not fit the standards of what is beautiful and take extreme measures to be and stay thin. To sum up, I feel that the Sailor Moon clip does normalize society’s obsession with weight and it completely mirrors my own reaction to weight gain.

  10. 10 Nancy February 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    When I was a kid, I aspired to be like Sailor Moon, pretty and slender. It really affects the way young girls think about their bodies. They may not be aware of it, but it’s always at the back of their minds. Sailor Moon’s image is not how the average teenage girl looks like, but she is now the norm because she is a pop culture icon.

  11. 11 Jenna March 1, 2010 at 12:36 am

    At base, this is making fun of obsessive dieting and the like. So it’s not encouraging such behaviour in any way, despite Luna making fun of Serena. She does that because she knows it will get a rise out of Serena *because* she’s hyper-obsessed, as she shouldn’t be. It’s a joke. But the whole message clearly was pro-health not pro-diet. (or pro-weight-loss, whatever)

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