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
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.
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?
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 :
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!
Now, attractiveness comes in the sizes of skinny, skinny and skinny.
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?
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.