"I, personally, intend to get fit--I've been watching closely what I eat, and I've given up smoking. I just feel better, physically, for doing this. I haven't started walking regularly, yet, but when or if that day comes, and I gain the "perfect body", are you to say that I am selfish in wanting to be fit?"
Depends on how "selfish" is defined. I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to get fit. I exercise, too, and I watch what I eat, and it makes me feel good about myself and I think it even makes me a better person to others that I feel good about myself.
But I cannot claim that the time I spend on getting fit and watching what I eat couldn't be spent on something else, such as caring for other people. I make a choice to be "selfish", I'm responsible for my choice and am ok with it. It only becomes a problem when I'm overly concerned about my body and dieting so that I don't have enough energy to focus on other things, some of which may be even more important *gasp* than a perfect body.
Don't you think that today's society is a little bit too focused on the perfect body?
I've read that in big cities women's happiness correlates with beauty (when beauty is evaluated by the "perfect" WHR) but in the countryside it doesn't. This leads me to believe that society, advertisements and our surroundings can and do influence our priorities and values. Don't you think that society's values should be re-examined? Do you not care at all if women evaluate their self-worth based on their WHR, knowing that adverts etc encourage this kind of thinking and knowing that there are alternative ways of evaluating one's self-worth?
"But you don't know if a person with a "perfect body" actually gained that "perfect body" intentionally, unless you asked them (or, unless they're bodybuilders in some kind of competition). Hence, I don't think it wise to assume it."
I don't assume it. But I've actually seen advertisments (even a LOA video) that say things like "YOU CAN HAVE THE BODY OF YOUR DREAMS IN JUST SIX WEEKS!" I also know that many people suffer from eating disorders and little girls want to be "thin like Bratz" and a lot of ten-year-old girls have a distorted body image and believe they should lose weight. So I know that a sick attitude towards the body does exist in our society in ways that could be changed. Did you know, for example, that Asian women didn't suffer from Western eating disorders before Asia was "westernised"?