Self-Esteem
April 17, 2012
Let’s Talk About Relationships
June 26, 2013
Show all

Body Image

     Body Image!

     Body Image is our perception of how we look, and the value judgments that accompany that perception. If us girls:
    -feel bad about ourselves on the inside
    -receive negative or untrue messages about our appearance
    -receive unrealistic and unachievable messages about what is ideal from the media

    …it
    is very likely that we will feel bad about how we look on the outside.
    This not only affects our confidence in our appearance, but also in
    our ability to do other things like being a leader. 

    Check out this video!

    Teens
    are at a vulnerable age. This is the age we are most impressionable
    and start to develop self-confidence and self perception. Body shapes
    change rapidly. About half of female teens think they’re too fat and almost 50% are dieting. There is a lot of pressure to succeed and fit in. One of the ways to fit in is to have the “perfect body”. -Maynard, Cindy, MS, RD, Body Image

    But where do we get these images about the perfect body?

    Check out this Dove video! 

    The
    film Miss Representation states that “In one week American teenagers
    spend 31 hours watching TV, 17 hours listening to music, 3 hours
    watching movies, 4 hours reading magazines, 10 hours online. That’s 10 hours and 45 minutes of media consumption a day.”
    Although this an American statistic, it’s very likely that Canadian
    statistics would show a similar amount. If you look through any
    magazine or watch TV for any period of time, you are bombarded with
    images of beautiful people who fit a very narrow category of beauty. We take these messages in and it influences our own ideas of what is beautiful without us even realizing it.   This starts early, even with our toys like Barbie.

    This picture is a real life replica of what Barbie would look like if she was a real person.  Here are some other facts about Barbie : 

  • If Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9″ tall, have a 39″ bust, an 18″ waist, 33″ hips and a size 3 shoe.
  •  Barbie calls this a “full figure” and likes her weight at 110 lbs. At 5’9″ tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a body mass index of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. She would not likely have her period.
  • If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.
  • Slumber Party Barbie was
    introduced in 1965 and came with a bathroom scale permanently set at
    110 lbs, with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight” with directions
    inside stating simply “Don’t eat.”

    The Scary Reality of a Real Life Barbie Doll 

    Even
    though we don’t play with Barbies anymore, that idea of beauty and
    perfection carries on with us to our teenage years and adulthood. But
    this idea of being dangerously thin has not always been seen as
    attractive.  50 years ago, having curves was the ideal body type and the media reflected this as shown in the following vintage ad.
    50 years ago, pounds were considered attractive!
    (https://www.retronaut.co/2011/11/vintage-weight-gain-ads/)

    Now, attractiveness comes in the sizes of skinny, skinny and skinny.
     Jezebel.com

    Regardless
    of what is seen as attractive during a particular time period, the
    media and advertising is always telling us that are bodies are not good enough as they are and we need to change them in some way. Why can’t all body types be considered beautiful and represented in the media? 

     (https://cdn.blisstree.com/files/2012/02/when-did-this-become-hotter-than-this-it-didnt.jpg)

    So,
    how can we change our ideas about what is attractive and how can we
    tell the media that showing one type of body as attractive is not cool?
    We’ve come up with a couple of tips:

    Check out the following websites:
    My Body Gallery

    This website allows users to search for user-uploaded photos of their body based on their height and weight. You’ll quickly see that there is a ton of variation in people’s body sizes and that people  are beautiful no matter what their size.

     About-face.org

      – Check
    out the gallery of offenders to see some of the worst advertising and
    the gallery of winners to see positive messages that the media can put
    forward.

    Miss Representation Campaign – ‘Like’
    Miss Representation’s Facebook page to receive updates about the
    media’s negative messaging and what other people are doing to change it.

    Write
    letters to magazines that promote only one form of body type and one
    type of beauty. About Face  has a great page on how to write a
    complaint letter.

     How to Write a Complaint Letter

    When watching television or reading magazines pay attention and question what messages are being sent through what you’re watching.  Start with conversations with your friends and family about these messages and how they make you feel.

    Instead of focusing on what your body looks like, focus on what your body can do. Instead of basing your goals around getting to a certain weight, set healthy  goals about running a certain distance or maybe improving your strength.

    Stop
    yourself from automatically judging others on their appearance. We
    can’t help but judge our own bodies if we spend too much time judging
    other people’s bodies.