- Mental Health
Media Effects Body Image Greatly: Using their Power to Perpetuate Unrealistic Beauty Standards Since Forever
No One Shape: No Body TerrorismClick thumbnail to view full-size
Media vs. Mind: From the Mouth of the Babe
How it All Began
This hub is being started because of a fake news article I read on The Onion though Facebook. At the time I read it I did not know it was a fake article, so I gave a very honest opinion about what was said in the fake article. Before I go any further, I’ll tell you a bit about the article. It was about how the medias portrayal of women effects a mans psyche because the image of what beauty is for women is changing in the media and on other outlets such as Facebook, Instgram, and some celebrities who have gotten sick of the body images portrayed by the media. The point of the fake article was that this big change was taking a toll on men because it was not something they were used to seeing in their media outlets, whatever media they might use. This enraged me because the whole Positive Body Image Movement was started in order to help ease up the horrible body image women and especially little girls have of themselves and others around them. It was about how this “perfect” image, which is totally unattainable, is literally killing our young people (not just women and girls).
Of course, since I have such strong feelings about this subject anyway, I had a few strong words about this article and posted my thoughts along with the link to the article on my Facebook. I was thus informed by friends that it was a satire piece and totally made up, to my relief. (FYI according to my Websters Dictionary Satire means ‘the use of sarcasm or irony in exposing human folly, vice, ect. A literary work in which such use is made’). Despite knowing the article was fake, I kept my post up on my page because I think it is still relevant to the subject. Just because that one piece was satire does not mean there are not real people who actually think that way. In this world, you know there are people like that. The photo to the right is my post about the article and I have posted the link to the article here as well.
The Satire Article in The Onion
- Increasing Number Of Men Pressured To Accept Realistic Standards Of Female Beauty | The Onion - Amer
NEW YORK—Confronted on a regular basis with images of women who represent a diverse array of body types, a growing number of American men are reportedly feeling pressured to accept the increasingly realistic standards of female beauty now d
MeClick thumbnail to view full-size
I have been effected from the medias portrayal of beauty throughout my life, have and do suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and anxiety attacks. I have been made fun of my whole life because I was always bigger than the other girls. At a young age, beginning as early as 6 years old, I was always weird because I had anxiety and did not like groups of people, so I was very quiet and within myself a lot. People never knew or understood these things, so instead, they made fun of me. Being from the family that I am from, as the baby, I grew to be a fighter. The more of a fighter I became, the more of my anger came out, resulting in fewer people making fun of me because they realized I would not lie down and take it anymore. Reguardless of all of this, my head was a mess and I gave in to the depression and became suicidal at a few points in my life because of the pure unhappiness I felt about myself, and the extremely poor body image I held for myself.
Now, this poor body image was not solely due to being made fun of, it was also due to being a victim of rape at age 17, after which the next 4 years of my life were a dark hole of Hell and misery. It was during this time I gave into my depression and went back to self-harming a bit (I had began and stopped in middle school). This did not last long because I was so ashamed and so guilty about it that it drove me to quit. I want to take a beat here and explain that when I was raped, I was so ashamed that I could not stop it, I was so disgusted with what they did to my body without my permission that I did not WANT to be attractive to anyone. I did everything I could to be unattractive to anyone else, even myself. It has not been until these past 3 years that I have become SO confident in myself and have LOVED the way I look on a daily basis. I am so very thankful I was able to turn this around for myself, with love and support from my family, God, friends, and my cat (animals help lessen depression).
Men and Body Image
Do you suffer from an eating disorder?
The Real Question
Have you noticed the way media pushes a certain look on people?
The Facts About Eating Disorders
According to DoSomething.org, these are the facts about Eating Disorders in America:
"1. Eating disorders are categorized as mental illnesses where there is an unhealthy relationship with food. People with eating disorders often struggle with body image and disrupts their normal activities with unusual eating habits to alter their appearance.
2. There are 3 main eating disorders:Anorexia Nervosa, fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, Bulimia Nervosa, the act of binge eating then purging or vomiting, and Binge Eating Disorder, eating until uncomfortably full in one sitting.
3. Eating disorders can be genetic or caused by psychological issues like coping skills, control issues, trauma, family trouble, or social issues. Each type of eating disorder has many possible causes.
4. Approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with an eating disorder. Almost 50% of these people also meet the criteria for depression.
5. A mere 10% of people with eating disorders receive treatment, and of those only 35% seek treatment from a facility that specializes in eating disorders.
6. In a college campus survey, 91% of the women admitted to controlling their weight through dieting. 22% said they dieted “often” or “always.”
7. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For women ages 15 to 24, the mortality rate of anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death.
8. More than 50% of teen girls and nearly 33% of teen boys admit to using unhealthy methods to control their weight including smoking cigarettes, skipping meals, fasting, vomiting, or taking laxatives.
9. An estimated 25%t of college-age girls resort to bingeing and purging to manage their weight. 58% of the studied girls felt social pressure to maintain a certain size.
10. Men make up 10 to 15% of the population with anorexia and bulimia, but are the least likely to seek help due to the gender stereotypes surrounding the disorders.
11. 69% of girls ages 10 to 18 confirm that photographs of models and celebrities in magazines inspired their desired body shape."
#Anorexia in PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Unfortunately, there are many young girls and adult women who have not had a life changing experience to bring them back from their depression or horrible body image. For this hub, I decided it would be best to use real photos, not some Google image. So, I used the app Instgram, which allows you to use a hash tag (#) to tag photos your post. These hash tags are clickable and link to any public photo on Instgram with that particular tag. For this set of photos, I used “ #fattie ” and “ #anorexic ” leaving me with some disturbing photos. Every one of the photos under “ #anorexic ” portrayed very, very thin people who are still trying to lose weight. Every photo makes me scream because absolutely no one who has used that hash tag “anorexic” is healthy, in a good state of mind (because I can read their comments on the photos as well), and they ALL have support form other Anorexic people. When I say “support” I do NOT mean like, ‘Hey, you can beat this,’ ‘You are beautiful,’ ‘I love you.’ No, When I say support I mean they are encouraging their Anorexia. Many of these people are using their Instragm accounts as a sort of blog about their lives as Anorexics. They are looking for others who are Anorexic, looking for others to help them stay Anorexic, and not looking for anyone to tell them they need help.
I can’t help but feel so sorry for these girls because they are all beautiful and have NO idea that their life is being taken over by a DISEASE that will KILL them. Many of these girls get their “motivation” from models who are Anorexic, who look Anorexic, and who look “perfect” to them because they are so rail-thin. I feel sorry for these girls because they have no idea what life is about. They have no idea how beautiful life can be, and how much this struggle they are going through now will better them in their future (if it doesn’t kill them first.)
Media and Self Esteem
Magazines and Movie StarsClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Media's Role
I do feel sorry for these girls, but I do understand how they could have been sucked into the trap eating disorders really are. They trap you into believing you are worthless, that you can always be thinner, that skinny is best, that food is bad because it makes you look like a human being and not like a skeleton. All of these thoughts and this body image is pushed in their faces on a daily basis through media. Media is the biggest outlet we have that reaches out entire society. We have TV shows like any of the Top Model shows, even the fashion design shows because they use tiny models as well. There are movies which have tiny actresses. It is VERY rare you see a successful actress in Hollywood who is a bigger woman or girl. There are two that I can think of off the top of my head, Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson. Another was a child when she first appeared on screen and she was the cutest little girl who starred in Little Miss Sunshine alongside the big names of Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, and Steve Carell, and her name was Abigail Breslin. Then there are the actors and actresses, who themselves feel the pressure from Hollywood to be thin or muscular, who are being photo-shopped to look MUCH more thin and muscular. And this is what it is doing to our society, that part of life that is real and not plastic and touched up to almost unrecognizable people sometimes.
The media holds such a large responsibility for how our young people see themselves, that extreme negative body image we are gaining faster and faster as a whole. Our younger generations will die out of their own accord before nature can take its course because they will never feel good enough to be alive. They will never have the body image they need to survive their own minds if the media keeps feeding them this shit they call “real life.” It is only recently that there has been such an outcry from men and women when we see greatly and so obviously photo-shopped photos, and realize just how much they do re-touch and perfect those photos they are feeding us as “normal.” Recently things like the photo-shopping in the Ralph Lauren catalogue and the Hollister catalogue has created the outcry and demand for media to STOP using Photoshop on models (at least in clothing store catalogues). This is definitely the start of something, if the outcry for change will continue from the public, from our society. The few changes that has come from this outcry alone should be proof that when the public raises their voice, it will be heard by the media, and it will be heard by those who can change what the media is feeding us.
Jennifer Lawrence and Lady Gaga Weigh in
Our young girls now need more actresses who are willing to do what Jennifer Lawrence did and say, you know what, we can do something about this, we can change what these girls are seeing and what they consider to be beautiful. Jennifer Lawrence alongside other actresses like Queen Latifa, Saundra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, and Kat Dennings to name a few, who refuse to conform to the body shape and image that the media is trying to feed out young girls.
Parents need to be the biggest positive role model a child can have because their influence is the foundation of their life. As a child your parent(s) is the one who teaches you everything from the very beginning. They are you example as their child. They are the starting point of the childs existence and need to realize how the things they say, how they say them, and what they mean effect their own children. Parents need to make sure their child has some influence from real people not not just the magazine covers or the movie stars.
We need more people to realize that we are not perfect, and we do not need to be.
Body TerrorismClick thumbnail to view full-size
Ridicule From Others
Of course, the media is not the only thing that catapults horrible body image in people, although it is the foundation and the fuel to the fire. The other main component is the way we treat others. As in my story, I was made fun of for being “fat” and a little weird compared to the false façade everyone else lead others to believe was really themselves. Body Terrorism is when you or others terrorize yourself or someone else because of the way the body looks or doesn’t look. It is just another way for people to feel or know as if they do not belong in this world and as if they are nothing compared to others. It is just another way for humans to be nasty and degrading towards each other, not knowing, or maybe full-on knowing that it is taking a large toll on the person being attacked. Again, all of this stems from the media and what they put out there for the young to see. When it is started at a young age, it grows like a weed and does not stop growing until someone yanks it out by the root.
You may be saying that it is also the parents responsibility to teach their children to grow up, or be tough, or maybe not to care what others think of them. The thing you are forgetting is that humans have this overwhelming need to fit in and be wanted by others. The other thing you are forgetting is that some (a lot) of parents don’t know what they are doing as parents, don’t care enough about their children, don’t know their childs situation (as Dr. Phil just recently found out about his daughter), or fuel their childs bad self esteem by calling them fat, worthless, or even making small or snide comments when clothes shopping. My mother used to tell me “Everything you do has an effect on others.” I didn’t believe her until my early 20’s and I know there are many people out there who do not think that now.
If you do not think that the media has been feeding us these images of perfect people from a very young age, watch each video I posted along with this hub. Look carefully at every image I posted (and know they are not fake). Investigate for yourself. I invite you to get on your Instagram and search “#anorexic” or “fattie,” then see how serious this is. If you are older and don’t know what Instagram is and you have kids of age, ask them because chances are that they know and have one. It is a sad world when our biggest enemy is ourselves.
Positive Body Image Role ModelsClick thumbnail to view full-size
© 2014 Nicole