Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Body Image

This is a post that I have been thinking about publishing for a while now. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. A couple of weeks ago, Alesha Dixon (former Mis-teeq member and British pop star) presented a television programme on body image/confidence. A 16 year old girl had become so obsessed over looking like the perfect women we see in the media, that she became anorexic, and had a boob job. As a result, Alesha decided to “investigate” how the media portrays perfect bodies, and if they actually exist beyond the glossy pages. Of course, the answer was no, no body is “perfect” b y measurement; each is “perfect” in its own way. It was astonishing just how much air-brushing is used in magazines, from the photo shoot to ad-hoc papped photos of celebs on the beach. It lead to a conclusion that thousands of women are trying to become what is essentially not real – they are following a false belief – the belief that there is a perfect body, and that these celebrities have them; so Alesha decided to do an untouched magazine cover. She still looked amazing, better than the cover that had been touched up, more “real” if you like, and less plastic looking.
As a result, the programme really got me thinking. How has it been allowed, and still allowed, people in power to manipulate images that will be fed to thousands of people, making some of them feel really bad, miserable, depressed; making some people feel so “un-perfect” that they get an eating disorder? It’s just not on.

I have been affected by it. Not in a really serious way. I am struggling with my body image. Sometimes I feel ok, I can look in the mirror and think “I’m ok”. Other times, I look in the mirror, and think “ugh” and I pick out bits of me that I don’t like. I have a slight problem with food, in that I am very conscious of what I eat, constantly checking calorie, fat and sat fat content. I occasionally feel guilty when I eat a take-away or a fast food meal (but these are often feelings I get after eating this junk more than twice in a week). 

I joined the gym because I thought I was getting bigger. I feel so much better about myself when I have been.
There are occasions I just feel like my body is not how a woman’s should be. Now, there are certain things that I can’t change, like my height etc, and, I used to want to get a boob job. Obviously I don’t want this anymore, there are a number of females who embrace it, and actually put forward reasons as to why they’re better smaller than bigger. I’m still trying to accept that...!  I had a moment when I recently saw on the front page of the worst newspaper in the world “Doctor finds formula for perfect boobs” I mean, how outrageous! The main point is that boobs have got to be big, bigger the better and they have to be round, droop a certain bit below the nipple, and basically, the more that your boobs derive from the formula, and the more abnormal they are. I couldn’t believe it. I could go on and on and on about how disgusting that was. I fail to see anywhere that tells men how to have the perfect chest, or face, or even genitals!

So, it’s natural from all these doctors finding perfect boobs, and media portraying the perfect body that’s not real, that, I sometimes do feel like I’m not good enough. I am engaged, and, of course, he has nothing but amazing things to say about my body. But, sometimes, I can’t help thinking, is this enough for him? Is he only accepting it and saying nice things because he has to? I mean, us women are fed so much information about “what men want”. For example, in the Him section on MSN, there is a page dedicated to “women we adore”. When you click on it, they are all “textbook” women – big boobs, long legs, blonde hair, slim, toned. And I think, I’m nothing like this, how can he be happy with someone “average”?  It’s not fair that I, and many other women, should feel like this.

I’m not saying it’s one sided in terms of gender, I’m simply writing from a woman’s point of view. It’s just, there is much more of a media storm surrounding women than there is around men. Notice, in adverts, men are generally shown from only the torso up, yet a whole woman is shown. I find that there is less emphasis on “the perfect man” in the media, and less pictures.

I would love to know what you think about how the media plays its part in body image. Do you somtimes suffer? Or couldn't you care less?
I would love to hear your thoughts =]

1 comment:

Emma said...

I like to think that the media doesn't affect how I see myself, but it completely does. I'm pretty skinny, so in terms of the media's standard women's body, I'm doing pretty well. But, like most naturally skinny girls, I've got almost non-existent breasts. I don't understand how girls can be expected to be a size 6/8 with 34D breasts. It just doesn't work. I never want a boob job, but I'll admit, there are days when I look at my savings and wonder if I'd feel happier if I just went for it ...