Body Image and the Media

Lately, I have been paying more attention to the articles listed on my yahoo news home page. What I noticed was that there were so many articles that judge people’s looks. I know the world of celebrity is vain and superficial but the media just takes it to a whole new level. It seems every where you turn, someone is being criticized. This one is too fat. That one is too skinny. This one is wearing a cute outfit but that one is not. Who has the right to really judge another person’s looks. Looks can be so subjective.

So I decided to count how many online articles were about looks. In one morning, there were more than twenty different articles about celebrity appearance on my yahoo home page alone. They ran the gamut from Kris Jenner looked like Zoolander, Jaime King is too skinny, some star is now a lumbersexual, and Jennifer Lawrence wore a dress, to an article about another celebrity who gained too much weight.  There was an article on armpit hair, one on lavendar hair, and yet another about Serena Williams getting body shamed.  OMG, STOP! This is crazy…

We wonder why we have so many body issues, especially our youth who are more prone to celebrity and media influence.  A recent poll of a local Massachusett’s high schools found that 45% of student were trying to lose weight. But the obesity rate in the area is the lowest in the country at 13%.  That’s not okay! Something has to be done.

Body Image Graph HS

We need to remember and teach our children that most of the images in the media are photoshopped. Well, except the really bad ones that try to make fun of someone with cellulite, wrinkles, flab and normal body features. There is a reason companies such as Dove are starting to include all body shapes and sizes in their advertisements…because they are real. They want people (esp. women) to accept themselves and see the beauty in their bodies. This is empowering! Other magazine and celebrities have been foregoing the photoshopping because they know the emotional damage that has been done when young boys and girls think they have to look like people that don’t really exist in real life. Just the other day, Kim K, did a spread with allegedly no make up on. That reality remains to be seen but what a step forward if it’s true.

Check out this PDF file of before and after images of celebrities that have been photoshopped for the media.  It’s eye-opening!

Kim Cattrall, just as beautiful without the touch-ups.

Kim Cattrall, just as beautiful without the touch-ups.

Body Image & Advertising PresentationAndyRoddick

How can we expect to look like them when they don’t even look like them? Andy Roddick commented on his before and after images that they pumped him up so much, it doesn’t even look like him. He admits he’s pretty scrawny for an athlete. It isn’t just girls that are being manipulated, boys are being sent messages too!

AndyRoddickWe shouldn’t be striving to look a certain way to feel valued and desired, we should be striving to be healthy. Instead of feeling the need to change ourselves, we should be embracing our differences and learning to love our bodies and our unique qualities.

If you want to work on something, I think it’s more important to work on personality (emotional state) than appearance. Have you ever met someone who is considered “average” but when you get to know them, you find them absolutely beautiful? It works the other way around…how many “beautiful” people do you know that once you get to know them, they don’t seem so beautiful anymore. Yeah…inside is more important! The happier and healthier you are, the more beautiful and radiant you become. Who isn’t attracted to a genuine smile and/or a vivacious laugh?

So at this stage of my life, I am trying to learn to love my 45 year old body, wrinkles, grey hair, and all. I am not 25 and I am never going to look 25 again. I think aging gracefully is far more attractive. This doesn’t mean I don’t work out or watch what I eat. I absolutely think it’s important to eat right, move our bodies and maintain a positive attitude. So, I am trying to keep everything in perspective as I age.

It also doesn’t mean I give up and never try to look by best. I want to feel attractive just like anyone else. But I need to be the best me, not a poor excuse for someone else. I am really trying to be honest with myself and realize that there are other influences that may be making me feel bad about myself or making me think that I should look a certain way. This is what I am trying to be more conscencious of.

So I say let’s not judge each other and let’s not give the media so much power. If you won’t do it for yourself then do it for the younger generations. Let’s help them honor and love their bodies by loving and honoring our own bodies. Let’s lead by example.

Let’s embrace being healthy and enjoying life!

created by Jen B. Peters. Click to go to website

Created by Jen B. Peters. Click to go to Jen’s website




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