Bianca, thirteen years old, worked a lot harder in gym, walked home faster than she usually would, and skipped meals when she noticed she had less space between her thighs. Seven year old Sharon goes to an eating disorder hospital and faints multiple times because she thinks she is fat. Bryan, twenty-one years old, overdosed on steroids and ended up in the hospital because he was not as big and built as the other guys in the gym. People constantly compare themselves and never seem satisfied with the way they look.
With the changes in society and things and people being idolized, teens feel pressured to be something they are not and develop negative body image. From a young age, people begin to pay more attention to how they picture themselves and how they think others see them. Some develop positive body image, but others develop negative body image. It is estimated that millions more struggle with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem tied to dissatisfaction with body image (“Body Image & The Media” 1).
Body Image Essay Example
According to Fitzhugh, some contributions to negative body image may be being neglected or abused during childhood, being around people who judge others only by the way they look, and being teased about appearance as a child or teenager (6). Another contribution to negative body image is the media. The media plays a hugh role to the way people view themselves. It influences the decisions a person makes in an average day and affects the environment as well. Body image is more than just physical appearance or how attractive you look (Fitzhugh 4).
Fitzhugh states that it can be complex and includes physical sensations from the body, your emotions, and your thoughts (4). It is how one sees them self when they look in the mirror, what they believe about their own appearance (including memories, assumptions, and generalizations), and how someone feels about their body, including their height, weight, and shape. It is also how sense and control your body, how you feel in your body, not just about your body. The media, also known as the blame of body image, advertises to people what is hot and what is not. Lynn-nore Chittom and Laura Finley both agree that advertising campaigns with pencil-thin models are partly to blame for statistics, and contribute to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and depression.
Some methods of advertisement are using digitally altered images of models to grab your attention (Fitzhugh 13), using celebrities to endorse the product, and statistics and images to show that the product works. Men and women who are insecure about their bodies are more likely to buy beauty and body building products, new clothes, and diet aids (Ballaro and Wagner) to make them feel better about themselves.
Teenagers learn what society considers an ideal physique primarily from the media. They are bombarded with images in magazines, movies, on television, and in music that display what is fashionable and attractive. Experts conclude that viewing images of extremely thin models or strong and muscular men may negatively influences peoples’ body image. Once seen in the media and knowing what is idolized, societies desires are then reflected into the environment. The environment is the biggest challenge facing the nation.
Constantly being surrounded by methods, objects, and people that will make someone feel better about themselves, pressure them and will eventually affect their attitude. Your environment sets examples for you, helps you to decide who to surround yourself with, and helps you to develop your body image. To most teens and adolescents, the environment that matters the most to them is school. School is the place where kids get to see who and what is popular as well as who and what is out and uncool. A big concern in this environment skinny versus fat.
According to the NEDA, National Eating Disorder Association, eighty percent of girls and boys are unhappy with their appearance and approximately forty-five percent are dieting on any given day (Chittom and Finley). Studies say that more than ninety percent of high school junior and senior women diet regularly (“Body Image”). With so much lack of positive body image, how can anyone be satisfied with themselves? When people have a positive body image, they tend to feel good about themselves generally and are in touch with their bodies, and this can lead to them taking care of themselves in a healthy way (Fitzhugh 5).
As appose to those with negative body image, they are not as in touch with themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. Feeling this way may cause people to develop disorders and complications. Some of them being Anorexia Nervosa, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Bulimia Nervosa, and Muscle Dysmorphia. Other people even result to plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. There have also been cases where people become obsessed with doing this. It is unhealthy and another factor to poor body image. The littlest flaws become major issues to these people.
The effects of negative body image may seem minor at one point, but they eventually become more drastic and cause a domino effect of more health problems and complications. Body image issues need to be addressed, and friends are often the first ones to be concerned, so they are in the best position to help. If a friend has a body image issue, the NEDA has several recommendations to help, including learning more about eating disorders and understanding the facts about weight, nutrition, and exercise (“Body Image”).
Talking honestly, being caring, offering compliments, and being a good role model can all help. The NEDA stresses, however, that anyone struggling with an eating disorder or depression needs professional help, so it is also important to know when to seek help for yourself or a friend (“Body Image”). As the media, parents, teachers, and teens all become more aware of the problems related to body image, more can be done to help people achieve healthy levels of body image.
Body image plays a major role in many peoples lives. It is only from a new way of looking at a problem that people will begin to feel better about themselves. More people should focus on making more time to accept the natural dimensions of their body instead of drastically trying to change them. They cannot change their bodies for new ones. So the best thing to do is find peace with the one you have. Your body is where you are going to be living for the rest of your life. Do you not agree it is time to make it home?