Do you spend hours staring at yourself in the mirror to zoom in every flaw? Have you ever clicked a picture of yourself and then stared at it till you could see all the flaws in it? Body Image Issues are being unhappy with your appearance. Negative body image issues can result from several factors like society, the media, photoshopped models, and unrealistic beauty standards. Negative body image might sound harmless but can trigger severe anxiety and self-doubt.
The negative body image was glamourized in a lot of movies too. For example, in mean girls they compliment Cady and when she responds with ” Thank you ” they attack her by saying, ” So you think you are pretty”; a lot of movies also had the theme of pretty girls not realizing how pretty they really are till a boy comes along and validates their beauty. These movie themes and scenes have encouraged young girls or compelled young girls to have a negative body image hoping that someone will come along and validate their beauty one day. In some movies and shows, whoever didn’t fit a pre-determined standard of beauty was labeled ugly or evil.
Negative body image issues may look harmless at first. Still, when the issue intensifies, it can lead to body dysmorphic disorder, which leads to obsession over small parts of the body or more with such intensity the person can’t think of anything else.
Here are some symptoms or signs of negative body image:
a. Comparing yourselves with others and feeling insignificant while doing it.
b. Lack of confidence.
c. Feeling ashamed and embarrassed by your body.
d. See body parts in a distorted way.
A review report by Medical News Today states that – ” Female and male adolescents experience the same degree of body dissatisfaction and LGBTQIA+ communities face additional stress when it comes to body image”. A study found that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are more anxious, stressed and depressed with their body image than 1/3rd heterosexuals; because of unreal body image expectations painted in front of them.
So, how to build a positive body image? Here are some steps:
Appreciate your body for the way it is and the things it can do for you.
List down the things you like about yourself which have more to do with your personality and less with your looks.
Give yourself one compliment each day in the mirror.
Realize that beauty standards change over time, and you don’t have to change yourself to fit in it.
Notice that you are unique and beautiful in your way.
Surround yourself with positive people who wouldn’t bring you down based on your looks and see you as a whole person.
Know that kindness and empathy to self and others can make you more beautiful.
Do not give in to the beauty standard set by the media or movies, as a matter of fact, anyone.
Show yourself some love because you and your body deserve to be happy.
Whenever you find yourself thinking about negative body image, engage in some other activity or hobby.
In 2021, we need to change our beauty standards and acknowledge that each person is beautiful and unique in their way, so we need to stop being so critical about ourselves and others. What doesn’t fit the beauty standard of today might follow the beauty trend in the next 5-10 years, so better own what you have than to change to fit someone else’s idea of perfection.