Body Image

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Where does negative and positive body image come from? Why do we like or dislike our bodies?

Many would blame the media for promoting blonde, thin, big boobed women as the ideal female. Likewise the muscular man with a 6 pack, tan, thick hair is often seen as the ideal look for a male. How many people look at these people and think I want a body like that? I don’t! and have never really looked at celebrities bodies and compared them to mine. Firstly because it is unobtainable, takes a lot of hard work, takes up a lot of time in some circumstances and I know that my genetics wouldn’t allow it. In saying this I do have body image issue, but I only measure myself on how I think I look. People say I look better having gained a few pounds, but I felt better ultra slim. So I don’t worry what others think I have my own idea on it and I do not compare. This is my own thoughts on my body. But maybe I see myself differently to others?

Young girls are particularly vulnerable when it comes to the media. Again genetics play a major role. For some women to be so thin it would cause them not to be able to become pregnant and thin their bones making them unhealthy. Breast size is generally down to genetics, so there is little you can do about that unless you have the money to have implants. Breasts are sexualised and it is the opinion that men prefer women with big breasts which is not always the case. Do women with smaller breasts have a disadvantage breast feeding? There is also the negative where blonde, big breasted women are seen as bimbos when they are just as likely to be intelligent as any other person.

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There has been a drive to show that bigger women are beautiful, which puts those who are thin in a negative light. Surely being healthy is the best way to be? Do we promote kind, caring intelligent, selfless people? Why are we pushing image over what that person is about, who they are and what they do? What is more important?

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Most people have issues with their weight even if they are healthy. Everyone has fat in certain places and that’s surely only natural? Being overweight can be healthy and unhealthy. Surely health is most important?

Are we born to pick out flaws in people’s looks. Did the first men and women have body image issues. Do we pick out the flaws because we need to survive the contest of survival of the fittest? Do we need a body that is strong, fast, healthy, attractive to win the contest and attract a mate? I’m sure people had issues before the media was invented. Is reproduction the only reason we are here?

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It has been proven that those who have parents who have body image issues, will more than likely pass those onto their children. This makes sense because we learn a great deal from our parents. We also have similar genetics so if we look like our parents and they don’t like their looks and body then why would we? I can say that about both my parents so I have similar hang ups to them.

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Is what Carrie Fisher says true? The body is just there to carry us around. We are more than just bodies, we can think, feel, share emotions, love etc.. My career can sometimes bring me to see those that have died. I have also seen family members die and once that happens that person has gone. They have left a shell behind because their mind or soul is no longer there. I think this is where body image is no longer important. You soon forget what people look like once you know and love them. It becomes unimportant. They say love is blind. Don’t they?

I have also read that gay men can be more image conscious and have more body image issues than straight men, i’m not sure how true this is? Are men more competitive than women? Is being more attractive more important to men? Do they have more to prove? Women may have to live up to big breasted women, but men possibly have to live up to muscle bound men. Does size matter? Many women and men say not, but does it really?

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I would love to hear why you have body image issues? What you like and dislike about yourself? Why do you dislike your body? Has the media had a positive or negative impact? I  would love to hear your views?

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47 thoughts on “Body Image

  1. Media has a huge impact on how people should see themselves. I believe only a percentage of people that work out and say they work out just to be healthy are lying to themselves, they don’t do it for healthy reasons. they do it because media says to. I don’t hate or love my body, after having three boys, I don’t think I can ever feel fabulous in a two piece bikini without a cover over it. But I don’t hate it either to the point I diet and excersie or where provocative clothes to feel better. some days I am ok with it, other days I am not, but I don’t feel bad a bout it. I accept how my body looks. as for big breasted, maybe I’m alone on this but I am a double d, and I hate it at times, the back pain, the struggle to get a perfect fit bra, or having to pay more for my size, or how certain blouses look or fit too tight up their. or how I always have to have a bra because if I don’t , they are sagging down.lol . I just don’t have the time to make body image a concern, I have too much to deal with, then to add such negativity thoughts. -just my thoughts

    • That is good to hear! I would say many mothers would feel that way. There is no time to be staring endlessly into the mirror. I didn’t think about the practicality of size. I think women who have implants often don’t think about clothing, back pain and having to always wear a bra.

  2. I personally find body image a very strange thing. I definitely agree the media influence us I teach teenagers everyday who aspire to be ‘perfect’ They don’t believe the airbrushing I show them. My opinions of myself seem to differ depending on the day, the weather or the time of the month. One day I feel super confident and will wear a tight fitting outfit but the very next day I feel less comfortable in my skin and hide under baggy clothes. I think my boyfriend thinks I’m insane as he will obviously see no change from the day before. He always thinks I look good bless him. Another thing Iv experienced recently is how different other peoples opinions can be. Just before Christmas I caught a virus and lost half a stone in 10 days. That doesn’t sound much for a larger person but I was a toned size 12 and now I’m a 10. I personally think I still look good. My boyfriend agrees but doesn’t want me to loose anymore. When I saw my mum she basically told me in a way only a mother can I looked awful and far to skinny. I only think she feels this through worry and the fact that she isn’t surrounded by fit gym going bodies every day.

  3. Well, Well, Well, I am actually quite surprised by this post from you, not because I didn’t think you knew anything about “body image” but because I am more used to your filming post about what interest in that realm of things. Reading your blog post, certainly corresponds with mine, but you don’t necessarily blame the media as I have in my blog post & that is totally okay with me. You have decided to list other things that qualify as reasons to body image; and all of them seem fair game. I question how much of this is all based on fact and how much is speculation. I do agree with the majority of it, although some of it.. might have a harder leg to stand on. I think your blog has some depth to it..I might even consider it better than what I posted in the sense that you actually went in the opposite direction as myself and seen things in a better perspective maybe? not sure yet. I’ll probably reread this and find tooth my thoughts later. You have asked the audience to answer some questions surrounding their body image. I don’t want to answer these questions about myself on your post, due to the fact I use these answers in my own blogs & I want to use my answers to create more blogs on all of my sites. I do however, like that you did give people an opportunity to answer and share their stories. From what I have observed you have received good insight! I’ll assume you will probably make another post pertaining to health and wellness; and if so.. I’ll keep my eyes peeled & if not, no big deal. Have a good evening! -Shay-lon

    • Thank you for such an in depth reply. I have a blog dedicated mainly to film and another for general musings. Body image is an important topic for me. I think the media has a lot to answer for in terms of those with negative body image. I think there has to be some nature involved. If you look at animals they tend to mate with the strongest and most beautiful. I think the media film, tv set upwards issues where size is all important when in reality must people aren’t bothered. It is my speculation. My blog is for my musing I am not an expert I just write what I think and hope that I e courage

      • Your quite welcome, I am not one for short comments unless I am left speechless, lol. Not to mention since this pertains to my major and my future career I felt the need to impede and post my thoughts out loud. As I love topics such as these. I am happy it means just as much to you as ir does me. Given this new perspective has opened my mind and I think It might cause me to write another blog about what you have shared, not tonight though. i am blogged out; you are a powerful blogger , I can tell how you capture your audiences attention. I enjoyed reading your blog & will look forward to future postings.

    • Encourage others to think and ask questions. I am happy to be proven wrong or listen to opposite opinion. I think we are too hooked up on what people look like rather than their personality or intelligence. A healthy body is most I’ll important.

  4. so first of all this blog entry is amazingβ™₯β™₯β™₯ i really didn’t csre about my body until i was about 14 and i was always pretty thin bc of my genetics i could eat what i want and still would be thin. anyways i started to not like my body and workout a lot and eat healthy first an it was amazing my skin got better i felt better and overall it was just amazing. In august last year i started competitive cheerleading which is amazing and i would do anything for it. anyways first my healthy eating and everything worked out very well but then i took it to extremes and started to eat less. which was really bad bc i loose weight super easily. but i just thought i looked better beeing thinner i started to look how thin others are and comparing me to them. it got really bad but then the doctor in our school has to make a check once a year and i was severely underweighted. i didn’t knew that bc i was never ever weighing me. i already recovered a bit and gained back at least some weight which is really hard for me. anyways even though i maybe am too thin i don’t think that anyone has the right to tell me that, i don’t tell them to loose weight either. Thanks for writing such an amazing blog
    xxxx Brooklyngirl16

  5. I love this post! You wrote it very well, and gave many different opinions on so many different subjects. πŸ™‚ Social Media is a factor in my self image just to the fact that, yes, they look good but, no, I don’t want to look like them. I’m much more prone to wanting to look the way I want and not the way of what social media deems is accurate for a woman to look. This post was definitely one of the best I have read thus far!! πŸ™‚

  6. Great post! This will always be a subject that people can’t agree on. For most of my life I was obese. From the age of 13 until 40 I was overweight. My heaviest was 270 pounds. I was bullied to the point I would dry heave before school. My self-esteem was a 0. I started drinking at 17 and didn’t stop until I was 37. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and with Bipolar Disorder. Between the medications and the change in diet I started to drop weight rapidly. My twin sister became distant because for the first time in our lives I now weighed less than her. She was always the “skinny twin” and that’s how people would tell us apart. It was overwhelming. I lost a 100 pounds in less than a year. Then people started to say I had an eating disorder. I became thinner and thinner. My health was declining. Instead of trying to help me they automatically assumed this was something I was doing to myself. I was down to 120 pounds in June when I woke up to extremely swollen feet. It was scary. So scary I went to the ER without telling anyone. They took one look at me and my feet and got me in right away. The doctor came over after getting some test results back, he had tears in his eyes. I didn’t understand at first. He said “You need to get your family here as soon as possible you’re in kidney failure and your creatinine level is a 10.71. You have to decide on a DNR and they’ll ask if you want to see a priest.” I was shocked. I couldn’t reach my family. The point is everyone around me assumed my weight loss was of my own doing. Instead I am very ill. You can’t win. You’re either too fat or too thin. I have to be happy with me and not listen to anyone else. It’s also unhealthy to go by any Hollywood standards. It’s good to see that lately on shows like The Mysteries of Laura, Law and Order SVU, and some others I can’t think of now, they are allowing the lead female characters to be at a normal weight. By Hollywood’s standards they would be considered “chubby”. I think Debra Messing looks beautiful, healthy, and most of all happy.

    • Thank you! You certainly have Bern through it. I lost my father to alcohol, my mother is a recovering anorexic sufferer and most of my family have suffered severe depression to the point of suicide attempts and sadly death. I have been fortunate not to have suffered from it myself, but gave felt the affects due to my relationship with them. Body image is important to me and I believe a healthy body and mind are extremely important.

      • Posts like yours are much appreciated for people like me. Movies and all the other subjects I believe in. Movies were another escape mechanism for me. So much so that I managed a video store for 13 years. lol I watched everything. I still do. I just lost my Uncle last week to AIDS. He was an IV drug user and Schizophrenic. Medications were too harsh for him and he preferred living on the streets. My family is also filled with addiction and mental health issues. Thanks for your time.

      • I’ve seen every Elvis Presley film made. My mom would have a TV station on every Saturday while she cleaned that played his movies all day. She loved him. I have a love for “Oldies” music because of her. I admit to being a film snob. Certain movies I won’t watch and certain actors I won’t watch. It’s horrible I know. I love Horror but not Science Fiction. I’m not big on comedies but if I see there’s a Russian Mafia movie I’m in! I never thought Keanu Reeves could act until I watched John Wick. His best movie ever.

      • Yeah it’s great film! He is a bit hit and miss. I liked the devils advocate, point break and I loved Bill and Ted as a kid. John Wick was great but his recent film Knock Knock was awful. I have seen quite a few Elvis films and I too enjoyed them as a kid.

      • John Wick was a good role for him because of his personal life. He had a lot to draw from to play that part. I think that’s why he did it so well. His performance in Bram Stoker’s Dracula still makes me cringe even though I love Gary Oldman and that particular take on the vampire lore. The opening scene is incredible.

  7. Yes, I believe the media plays a role. I rarely watch tv anymore, spending more time with friends, family and writing/reading WP. When I do watch tv, I see how thin the women are. Ad i work with real bodies everyday, the tv contrast can be stunning.
    My daughter, at least at 8 is not displaying the body image issues like I was. Will see what develops. I’m also very conscious of not
    shaming my body in front of her.
    Meanwhile it’s very important for my son to be seen as strong. The push for bulky muscles with superhero suits concerns me for him. As often, on the occasion that I do go to the gym, I see younger boys working out at extreme levels; this can prematurely close their growth plates, stunting their growth prior to having full skeletal development.
    Thank you so much for finding my post today and commenting. You might enjoy some of my other work under “mirror work” I have other posts about body image, but this is a new series.
    Namaste.
    [ps check paragraph #5, I think you mean fat vs far].

  8. I love this. I’ve always tried to express how greatly the media affects a lot of aspects of our lives including self-image. I mean, if you’re someone that starts your day with the news, what’s generally in the news? Depressing stories and a lot of negativity, in turn your likely to experience sadness. I actually had to come to a point, as someone who’s been partnered up with depression and anxiety, where I had to say I cannot watch the news anymore and I was a big news watcher but it was doing nothing for my psyche. It would get me all bent out of shape first thing in the morning and make me angry and hateful. I digress, going back the affects media and celebs have on the subject of body-image…

    I would like to first say that for all of my childhood, I was always “overweight”. I remember days leading up to this ideate-kid thing we had to do in 5th grade where we got this card for our parents with our fingerprint on it, our photo, height, weight, hair color, eye color, just like a license in case we were ever “lost”, I was horrified because I knew they were going to have to weigh you. I dreaded the thought of this because it’s like I was aware I was bigger than the rest of the kids my age but the number that was going to be significantly different from my peers and they were going to know that number was horrific to me. I actually remember one girl, she was just a mean girl to everyone and as matter of fact she was not of “average” size herself, but smaller than me nonetheless… We were in the music room and we were all sitting on the floor and there’s this scale, no exaggeration, in the middle of the room and the teacher was collecting all of our weights to put on this card. I remember after each weigh-in, the number was discussed amongst everyone and my anxiety grew and grew. This “mean girl” hovered around me to see what my number was and then of course she had to tell everyone and what an embarrassing thing for a girl of the impressionable and vulnerable age of 10-11. There it is, 10 years old, weighing 150lbs, while most of my “average” peers were under 100.

    My mom was and has never been someone that has cared what others thought of her, so it’s not like I learned this insane mentality from her. She’s a very strong woman, she’s independent, she’s beautiful and she’s hardworking. My dad, also at 55, to this day thinks he’s Mr. Mc-Studdlyson. Hahaha. I had friends growing up too, this wasn’t a case of “no one wanted to play with the fat kid” and I was completely alone in the world. However, I was very different from these other kids and that became very apparent early on. I remember this one high school boy on my bus that would give me shit every single day about me being fat (I was in middle school). I remember getting Alloy magazine around this tween age and I remember all the girls shown were skinny. They offered larger sizes but the girls shown were very skinny and I’m sure this played a role in my thinking at this time of my life.

    When I was 16, I met Alex. I really liked this guy so much however, the feeling wasn’t mutual. We would hang out…eventually sex happened between us but he would never “commit” to me as a boyfriend because he was “embarrassed” by me. Fast forward to age 20, I lost a bunch of weight, I was now down to my 5th grade weight. Who comes out of the woodwork all of the sudden? Alex. Turns out, I had grown up a bit and I wasn’t interested in him anymore. But what would ultimately happen for the following 3 years of my “skinny” life, I would be objectified, in which I allowed myself to be because this would become my worth. My self-worth deteriorated. I was having sex with these guys because I thought that’s what it would take to get into a relationship. My intentions were always good even when theirs never were. I was always seeking a relationship, someone to love and someone that would love me.

    You lose something inside yourself while thinking you’re only good for sex and appearance. There’s a hole an emptiness that would, I think, ultimately lead to my negative body-image. I would start to think that because these sexual rendezvous were never turning into relationships, it must of been because I wasn’t pretty enough. It must of been because after I did lose a significant amount of weight, I had excess skin on my stomach, it must have been because of my acquired stretch marks in adolescence…Disregard the fact that I’m funny, I’m fun to be around, I can light up a room if I’m comfortable, I’m friendly, I’m kind, I’m passionate, I’m compassionate, I love really deeply, I’m intellectual and I’m very creative. To me, it all boiled down to my looks.

    Fast-forward again, I become pregnant at 25. Because of these horrible “relations” I had with all these guys, in my early 20s I developed a prominent anxiety disorder. I say prominent because it became more intense, the anxiety disorder was always there from adolescence, it was just heightened in my 20s. I became very fearful of people and their thoughts of me when, as I’m writing this in this very moment, I am realizing I have only ever been fearful of my own thoughts of my own self. Anyway, I began to gain 10pounds at each monthly visit for my pregnancy, 5 months in, the doctor tells me “you’re gaining an awful lot of weight, this is how you have fat babies or get gestational diabetes”, disregarding the fact that I was very healthy. I was like you have no idea how hard I fight to live in this body daily and how much this is going to affect me – and I ultimately let it. Not to the point of eating any less or not gaining any more weight, but to the point of extreme anxiety prior to every appointment.

    I went on to gain a total of 70 pounds during my pregnancy. From a previously maintained 162 pounds to 222 the day I left the hospital. Post pregnancy, I would suffer from postpartum depression for the following 1 – 1.5 years… This is really really fucking long and I’m sorry!!! – To wrap this up quickly, where I’m at today, I find a lot of inspiration in “bigger” girls that say “fuck it” and I practice this on the daily. I’m not influenced by celebs or the media so much as what the entire world considers “beautiful” and “acceptable”. It’s a daily practice for me to love myself in this very moment because I know that by losing 100 pounds and being back to where I was prior to baby isn’t going to make me any happier without addressing and mastering my very own mind and thoughts.

    Sorry this is so long!!!!!! Thanks for sharing this post. I love it. So much so that I’m going to print it and hang it on my inspiration wall because I’m a person that likes visuals.

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