Body image is such a funny thing. Depending on who you are, where you live, and what the beauty standards are in the culture you identify with (or the ones that claim you), those standards can either be a good thing or more often than not, extremely dangerous! At a very young age, most people learned that: Body image is somehow connected to self esteem (kidshealth.org). So when body image doesn’t match what we wish to see and becomes our only means of evaluating ourselves, it’s a problem.
We all know the effects media can have on self esteem and body image but another little known agitator for unique individuals is the flow of seemingly innocent but questionable science or research that occasionally surfaces. For example, “The Perceptions of Perfection Across Borders” study, according to the Sydney Morning Herald article of August 17, 2015, highlights some of the flaws with the perceptions of perfection. The study is commissioned by Superdrug Online Doctor, a seller of weight loss tablets and other treatments. That study, if taken out of context, stands a chance of causing more emotional and social turmoil than good to individuals across many cultural and continental streams. It also helps perpetuate standards that have long-since proven to cause harm in how individuals are perceived based on gender, hair color, body type and similar characteristics.
Fortunately, we have celebrities like Miley Cyrus (LATimes.com) willing to offer perspective on how detrimental certain perceptions can be. We also have those from the academia world, including Washington University in St. Louis and Stanford and Brown University, tackling body-image issues. While we alone are not able to change so-called standards of beauty that took years and generations to solidify in a single day, we can certainly start whittling away at the damage by turning the tables and looking internally.
One way to turn the tables: Before deciding to carve, re-sculpture or ‘fix’ what others define as wrong, maybe it’s time to start asking: If it’s not a medical or health-related necessity, what’s wrong with those who suggest a physical change to meet an image that’s unnatural, unhealthy and definitely not you? It was this line of questioning that led to the start of a series. The St. Louis Healthy Living Examiner body image series, originally released October 17, 2009, was designed to help individuals improve their overall self image and health while surreptitiously countering the distorted images that surround us. With that in mind, to improve self esteem:
1) Look within
Stop comparing yourself to others. Start looking within. When it comes to body image, your interests should be about “you” and the quality of life that you want to achieve through making healthier choices. (That’s the hard part and it’s easier said than done because we do live in a world that puts pressure on individuals for the sake of conformity.)
To read what Demi can laugh about, click here (Seventeen).
LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 05: Singer Demi Lovato performs at 102.7 Kiis FM’s Cool For The Summer’ Pool Party at the WaterMarke Tower on July 5, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
2) Look at motive
Determine the motive. Are you trying to gain or lose weight because it will improve your health (such as lessen stress or minimize risks associated with diabetes, certain heart conditions like PAPVR or cancer)? Are you trying to get Botox, collagen, rhinoplasty or similar procedures because you’re being pressured or bullied into making changes just to fit in/be accepted?
To read a blast from the past on Zen’s hair, click here (MTV.com).
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 22: Zendaya Coleman attends the adidas Unveils The adigirl Collection on July 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for adidas)
3) Dig deep
Think about why you’ve adopted certain habits or why you’ve been making certain eating and fitness choices. Are you not eating or overeating because something’s bothering you? Is something or someone causing you to view yourself or your looks in a negative manner? If you’re not sure or concerned about how you answered any of the questions above, you’re not alone. The good news is that a lot of the answers are likely hidden deep down, just waiting to be explored.
To read the controversy on Prince Fielder, click here (Mirror Mirror).
ARLINGTON, TX – AUGUST 1: Prince Fielder #84 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by his teammates for scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by Mitch Moreland #18 in the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 1, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Miley Cyrus Says Hannah Montana Caused Her Body Dysmorphia
Hannah Montana took its toll on Miley Cyrus. The 22-year-old tells Marie Claire that being on the show from such a young age gave her body image issues, and probably caused some body dysmorphia.