How is your Body Image and
Self Esteem impacted on by
Your body image and self esteem are intimately tied together ...especially women and body image, but men are becoming more concerned about their male body image too.
Do you find yourself thinking: "On the inside I feel anxious and jealous because I want to look like those supermodels too. I work in a corporate environment where everyone is so weight conscious, I can't help but think of only I were thinner taller skinnier prettier more glamorous leggy oh and did I say skinnier that I would get places quicker."
Increasingly more women and men are dieting to improve their self esteem and it comes about from the media and body image distortions.
But what images are we buying into when we start the diet what are we thinking relative to body image and self-esteem? And, are the realistic? Do we even know what 'real' bodies look like:
As one person in a forum said: "I like to look at women's bodies in the belly dance and burlesque communities as reminders of how sexy larger bodies can be. The best known dancers and teachers our local burlesque scene seem to all be large women. I have felt simultaneously intimidated and inspired by how curvy teachers could move their bodies so well, and wear skimpy clothes so confidently."
I know that for myself - being tricked into going to a nudist campground - was something I would NEVER have done - ever! But it was the best thing that ever happened to my body image.
Those are questions we may not have stopped to ask ourselves.
You know all those photoshop images we see in the magazines, billboards and on telly plastered everywhere? Well the effect our body image and self esteem in ways we might never imagine. When it come to body image and the media - what we see are often so photoshopped and one thing is for sure, they do simply nothing to help develop good body image! In fact, if anything, they increase body awareness and lead to body image problems.
Women and body image
Let's consider what we're really seeing when it comes to body image and the media. Firstly, often what we're seeing is a body double. According to the museum of hoaxes (photo from there), with just a bit of nifty photo-shopping Oprah's head was transplanted onto a completely different body,
And let's face it, when it's not a body double, the average model is somewhere between 16 and 24 years of age, chosen precisely because she's:
- taller than the average woman,
- way skinnier than Ms average (often below what she should be to be medically healthy)
- and already has a knock-out body.
...and ps... she usually hasn't had children either, and because modeling is her profession she has the best photographers, taking her picture under the most ideal conditions, a hair stylist, a make-up artist, time to go to gym etc.. etc...
So what happens to our body image when we compare ourselves to Ms 16 to 24 year old Ms apparently Perfect? Well it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that our body image and self-esteem plummets. We become less confident and like ourselves less.
And what weight loss plan focuses on building your self-esteem? They all assume that when you lose weight your self-esteem will automatically improve. That may be true in the short term, but it doesn't necessarily hold true in the longer term. That's why I believe that Mind over Fatter is the health at every size and intuitive eating program around because self-esteem IS it's focus.
But wait - when it comes to self esteem and body image it gets worse.....
Not only is our heightened body awareness also impacted by body comparison but lets photoshop images into a state of zero defect and whoa, the stakes for women and body image as well as the male body image definitely get a whole lot higher.
Now, not only are we comparing with non average ideals - but we're competing with photoshopped images that are flagrantly unrealistic! No wonder anorexia and bulimia are so rife.
The Male Body Image
Sadly with the rise in media aimed at men, don't think that the images you see gracing Male orientated magazine covers does much for the body image and self-esteem of Mr. Average either. The average photoshop images of men have had their pecs enhanced, more washboard abs added and not to mention a bit of tweaking done to their biceps too!
For example, do you remember the pumped up version of the tennis player, Andy Roddick on a 2007 cover of cover of Men's Health Magazine?
Andy Roddick is quoted as saying: "...I'm not as fit as the Men's Fitness cover suggests...little did I know I have 22 inch guns and a disappearing birth mark on my right arm... I walked by the newsstand in the airport and did a total double take ...it was pretty funny....whoever did this has mad skills."
Well photoshoppists might have mad skills - but do they ever stop to think how self esteem and body image are tied together and how body image and the media affect millions of men and boys in a negative way.
So guess what they did a body switch on him too and the fact that he doesn't mind, but thinks it's funny that they didn't deem his own body good enough - says a lot! (Frankly I find it refreshing)
And on one online poll of 42 422 people 93% of people thought his body had been doctored. But how many of us actually remember that when we're blithely flipping through a magazine and feeling increasingly body aware - aware that we don't match up, that is!
So, it's no wonder that Bigorexia (also known as the Adonis complex) - a type of Muscle dysmorphia is growing at an alarming pace as men try to keep up with these images.
The bottom line? Take what you see in pictures with a BIG pinch of salt and whatever you do... if you want to not to be affected by photoshopped images and maintain your a high self esteem, don't indulge in body comparison with media images. You'll never find yourself on the winning side. It's time for a beauty revolution and a backlash against photoshop images and measuring our worth according to our body.
And whatever you do, if you do decide you want to shed a few pounds do it sensibly and all naturally because what you see as real on magazine covers really isn't!
So we might ask, how prevalent are photoshop images? You may be surprised to find out that nowadays we hardly see any images that aren't photoshopped! The media and body image along with self esteem and body image are tied together.
Check out what we don't see before images hit magazines....
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