In conclusion it is evidently clear that body image is an increasing issue for both men and women. We are becoming increasingly influenced by the media and the images that we are bombarded with day in and day out. Magazines, T.V and social media all play key parts in the way we feel about and see our bodies. Negative body image is becoming an ever growing issue, especially among teenagers and young adults. As mentioned in the previous post there are ways in which we can help improve our attitude and feelings regarding body image, and this in turn will help self esteem and confidence too. Hopefully individuals will stop wanting, or needing, to appear like the men and women that are shown to us after being digitally enhanced and ‘Photoshopped’ on magazines and T.V. We need to stop following and worshiping these unobtainable images and learn to love our bodies the way they are.
There are some steps that can be taken towards both improving body image and self esteem. These tips aren’t going to instantly change the way one feels about their body, but can definitely be a step in the right direction.
1. Get to know your body
This is an important step in learning to accept your body, but a lot of people just avoid who they are and what they look like as they simply do not want to see it. People need to learn to love their bodies, and accept who they are. Try on new outfits, or a new hairstyle. This will not only improve how you feel about your body but your self esteem too. Try and find things that you actually like and admire about your body and focus on these to help build your confidence.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others will always lead to the desire of wanting to become something unachievable. It takes away the uniqueness of what is truly you. People tend to notice all their flaws and none of their positive attributes when contrasting themselves to other people. Not much can be gained by sitting comparing yourself to others. Your self worth is not judged by your weight or your appearance, so don’t lower your dignity.
3. Focus on the good things
Focusing on positive things in your life can help both your mood and and your confidence. Focusing on family, friends, a hobby or something positive can reflect on your mood and overall state of mind. Taking up a new hobby can lead to meeting new people and achieving goals which in turn creates happiness and confidence.
4. Appreciate what your body was made for
We were created to do and achieve things, our bodies were made to help carry us and survive. Without our bodies we wouldn’t be able to run, dance, laugh or cry. Learning to appreciate our body and not judge ourselves on size or appearance will slowly help to creative an overall more positive body image.
5. Separate feeling bad from feeling fat
If we have a bad day, we can find it easy to get our feelings mixed up with the view of our bodies. You may feel down and then blame this on your weight and feel ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’. People can also feel ‘fat’ after eating a large meal, but this doesn’t mean they are. It is merely a state of mind. Changing this attitude can slowly help us to accept our appearance and self worth.
‘Beauty is a state of the mind, not a state of your body’ (Nationaleatingdisorders.org, 2015).
Nationaleatingdisorders.org, (2015). 10 Steps to Positive Body Image | National Eating Disorders Association. [online] Available at: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/10-steps-positive-body-image [Accessed 29 Apr. 2015].
The above info-graphic shows some statistics relating to the fashion industry and body image. It shows increasing changes in the fashion industry over time, and also the effects that the media has on women and body image. Pretty much all the facts in this info graphic show unhealthy material. A staggering 69% of women say that models in magazines influence their idea on the ‘perfect’ body shape, and 80% of women who answered a people magazine survey said that images of women on T.V and in the movies make them feel insecure. All these negative thoughts can lead to low self esteem and therefore eatings disorders as spoken about in the previous post. Many people with eating disorders don’t actually have a realistic sense of what they’re body looks like, and this therefore leads to an unhealthy obsession with their weight and image. The worshipping of these fashion models and actors and actresses in movies is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed, and hopefully over time women will soon realise they don’t need to reach these unobtainable expectations that the media are throwing at us.
Radarprogrammes.com, (2014). Women are dying to be thin. [image] Available at: http://upw-prod-images.global.ssl.fastly.net/nugget/52f271fb27e6187060000010/attachments/women-are-dying-to-be-thin-900-3532d3d45b2ce0021c762578ee41a157.jpg [Accessed 29 Apr. 2015].
Negative body image and body dissatisfaction can lead to a number of health problems such as under eating and over exercising. These can be linked to low self esteem issues and the want and need to become skinnier and more attractive. 90-95% of eating disorders occur among women and this can be caused by the idealisation of being thin in todays society (Powers, 2015). Media is one of the largest contributors to body dissatisfaction due to people being bombarded with images of perfect but unobtainable men and women. This can cause obsessiveness over trying to loose weight and become like these people in the magazines and on T.V. But with use of photoshop and enhancements it just isn’t possible.
Mentalhealth.org.uk states that 1.6 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. The most common of these being anorexia and bulimia, which not only affect physical but mental health too. Anorexia is a mental health disorder in which symptoms include not eating enough, loosing weight rapidly, being conscious about calorie intake and having worries over food in general. It causes people to compare themselves to others and become obsessive in what not only they look like, but others too. Anorexia can lead to depression, feeling weak, not being able to get pregnant, lack of sleep and difficulty concentrating (Youngminds.org, 2015). Many women use their weight as a measure of self worth, so things such as anorexia can be a way to get in control of their body and increase self esteem. Bulimia is also another common mental health problem, similar to that of anorexia it is about being in control of the body and the focus on being satisfied with overall body image. Bulimia is when an individual binge eats on fattening foods, and then makes themselves sick or uses laxatives to get rid of the foo due to feeling guilty. This can lead to health problems such as corrosion of teeth, dehydration, heart problems, excessive exercise, muscle spasms and weight loss. It is highly based on thoughts and feelings as people are extremely secretive about what they are doing.
It is important to get help when facing any of these mental health problems. Being dissatisfied with your body and developing unhealthy eating and exercise habits can lead to a long list of health problems. Increased awareness of these issues may help prevent individuals from comparing themselves to others, unrealistic models and celebrities.
Mentalhealth.org.uk, (2015). Eating Disorders. [online] Available at: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/e/eating-disorders/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2015].
Powers, P. (2015). Eating Disorder Services: What is the Link Between Exercise and Eating Disorders?. [online] Eatingdisorders.org.nz. Available at: http://www.eatingdisorders.org.nz/common-questions/what-is-the-link-between-exercise-and-eating-disorders/ [Accessed 28 Apr. 2015].
Youngminds.org.uk, (2015). What is Anorexia – Anorexia Support – YoungMinds. [online] Available at: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_children_young_people/whats_worrying_you/anorexia/what_is_anorexia [Accessed 29 Apr. 2015].
People go online for a number of reasons, whether it be to socialise with friends or to find information, but with the increasing development of technology we have more choice than ever with what we can do online. For example on social media sites people are increasingly using Photoshop and other photo editing software to warp their images in someway. Being able to digitally enhance body shape is a problem that can be deceiving and allows people to pretend to be something they’re not. This can cause misrepresented perceptions of what we are actually meant to look like – which in the end just creates a vicious circle. ‘Selfies’ have become a popular trend, as you choose the best angle, lighting and setting to take your photo and can upload it to your social media account. This has become peoples way of looking for approval online – to be told that they look attractive or sexy is at the forefront of everyones minds. According to YouthNet.org ‘75% of young people claimed they could not live without the internet while 86% loved how new technology helps them communicate with people.’ this shows that an increasing number of young people are using the internet, and along with this people are developing ways of changing who they are, and what they look like online. The following link shows a video starring Youtuber and blogger Cassey Ho. The video outlines body shaming, and how speaking about someone else’s appearance can effect the way they see themselves. It shows how easy it is to change our appearance using technology, but if only it could be this simple in real life.
Recently the company ‘Protein World’ released an advertisement in tube stations in London. The ad shows a tall, blonde women standing in her bikini, with the caption ‘Are you beach body ready’ written beside it. This instantly sparked up controversy on social media sites, with people retaliating and calling the ad ‘discriminating’. There has already been a petition begun to take down the advertisements named ‘Remove ‘Are You Beach Body Ready’ Advertisements’. The petition states “Protein World is directly targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product (Change.org, 2015). People took to social media to show their disapproval with the advertisement and were tweeting pictures and hash tagging #beachbodyALREADY.
In September 2013 a popular newspaper called The Sun teamed up with photographer Jenny Francis to take photos of male readers to recreating popular advertisement photos for male models. As Dove launched their Real Beauty campaign showing ‘real women’ (as mentioned earlier in the blog), this was a chance for men to have their say. Now, we know that most models have been airbrushed in some way to enhance their chiseled muscles or darken their already unnatural tan, but what would it be like to see real, natural men doing the modelling? Well, The Sun got four everyday men to stand in the same underwear, in the same poses as the male models and put the photographs side by side. Here are the products below:
Although these images are just a bit of fun, hopefully they have and will continue to encourage men to accept their bodies and show that not everybody is the same. Read more